“Face-To-Face” is a household name in the Gambia’s academic community and its tertiary education system. It refers to the five weeks summer intensive training for aspiring teachers from the school of education of the Gambia College in each year.
The program which was designed since the year 2000 with less than 500 students has now grown in scope and strength recruiting over 1000 students with responsibilities to handle teaching positions in the basic education school system across the country in each edition.
As of today, so many reasons are responsible to the popularity of program not only within the college system but also in the academic community and the teaching field.
In an exclusive interview with Madam Isatou Ndow, Head, School of Education of the Gambia College in her office at the beginning of the 2010 Face-To-Face Edition, this reporter gathered that the annual summer training “is designed to provide quality teachers for quality education”. The whole program according to Madam exist in view of the fact quality education cannot be achieved in the absence of quality teachers.
She said the five weeks long session is part of the compulsory component of the Teacher Training program for various categories of schools in the basic education system. The target groups, she said are the second year students from the Higher Teacher Certificate (HTC2), first year Primary Teacher Certificate (PTC1), second year students of Primary Teacher Certificate in Arabic/Islamic who are all preparing to go on teaching practice and the second year Primary Teacher Certificate (PTC2) who have spent one academic year on teaching practice in the field.
On the objectives of the training, the head of school said it is to equip students with appropriate teaching methods and strategies and assist them to present lesson during micro-teaching. “It I also aim to expose students to other relevant issues in education in plenary sessions. Help students to have a better understanding of the modules and give them basic knowledge in Information Technology”
“Since its inception, the program has been a good supplement of valuable time needed by students to focus on issues relating to teaching methodology and practice. It availed them the opportunity to interact with their lecturers and among themselves particularly in the teaching practical dimension through pedagogic dialogues”, she said.
The program focus on key areas which include Educational Professional Studies, Social and Environmental Studies, Science, Mathematics, English Language, Agriculture, French, Gender and Population and Family Life Education, Home Science, Arts and Craft, Religious Studies, and Research Method.
According to Madam Ndow, the training involves plenary sessions where veteran educationists are invited to deliver lectures ranging from Role of teachers and students’ obligations as they occur in the field of teaching on daily basis, challenges and how to tackle them and Human Rights issues among others. Students are directed to develop good knowledge and skills in the preparation and presentation of lesson. It also focuses on how to identify topics, lesson objectives and the preparation of teaching and learning materials to be used in lesson. They are exposed to series of micro-teaching, syndicate group work and assignments and continuous assessment within the time of the summer training.
One of the most visible feature which give this special program a high regard by both students and staff of the college is the enabling and conducive learning environment guaranteed by the office of the head of school to host responsive lectures so that no student would afford to miss a class.
So many innovative techniques are now inserted to help in upgrading the program moving it into the most suitable standard of teacher training in the modern generation.
Face-To-Face in the view of the head of the school of education will continue to complement all efforts by the Education authorities to create quality education thanks to research which continue to show a high value and efficiency added to the personality of the teacher with the help of such vigorous training at the Gambia college.