By Kebba Jeffang
Gambian President Mr. Adama Barrow, said his government despite inheriting a difficult situation, will help address the constraints of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) for them to measure up to expectation. President Barrow made this remark as he hosted the civic educationists on Friday. The President said the NCCE played a critical role in educating the masses, and further noted that “an enlightened people, are an empowered people”. The president said this is a time of reform and planning across the board. He said reforms are underway to decongest the Office of the President by decentralizing various portfolios to the right ministries.
“This government was consulting both at bilateral and multilateral levels for support to the country,” he said. The president indicated that although his government has inherited a difficult situation, there is hope for positive change. He assured the civic educationists that the concerns they raised are noted.
Alhajie Sering Fye, the Chairman of NCCE said the mission at the state house is to introduce Council members to the new leader as well as share their challenges with him. “One of the main inhibiting factors is that we are not having an approved budget to facilitate proper planning,” he said.
He said other challenges include lack of a permanent office for the Council, mobility challenges in reaching communities due to old vehicles that were no longer road-worthy, as well as difficulties in organising outreach activities. “The majority of the Gambian populace did not receive formal education. Therefore, it is important to sensitise them through community meetings, workshops and the use of community radios,” Mr. Faye pointed out that there are plans to decentralise the Council into the regions in order to get closer to the people. According to him, they have developed a strategic plan, which could form the basis for a review of the National Council for Civic Education Act.
The NCCE is a state institution that was established as an Act of Parliament with the objective of enlightening the populace on civil rights and responsibilities. The institution however has been criticized for underperforming in their function even though they too have been complaining about unaddressed challenges.