By Lamin Sanyang
The Brikama Methodist Upper Basic and Senior Secondary and Longman Memorial Lower Basic Schools are to re-open today, Monday, 1 December, 2014 following their closure by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) for more than two weeks.According to a press release issued by MoBSE, the said schools were closed for failing to comply with the regulations calling for the teaching of Islamic Education in the schools. The matter was an issue of major concern to students, teachers, parents and the general public as well. It was, however, resolved when the stakeholders, including the education authorities met last Saturday to address the issue.
Mr. Babucarr Suwareh, Regional Director of Education, on behalf of the ministry, made the formal announcement for the re-opening of the two schools after an agreement was reached with the management of the said educational institutions schools for them to comply with the regulation and allow the teaching of Islamic Education. He also urged the management to form a functional board that would be advising and managing the affairs of the schools and in which the education ministry and parents of students would be represented.
“The schools are re-opened and children will go to school on Monday,” said Mr. Suwareh.
The regional director further emphasised the importance of having a senior management committee. He outlined the significance of putting in place these committees to help in solving problems. He talked about the educational policies set by the ministry.
“This is not a problem of religion, because the Christians and Muslims have been living in this country for many years without any problem. It is my role to advise on policy. If we do not solve a problem and allow somebody else to come and solve it for us, then it is our own incompetence,” he told stakeholders.
Mr. Suwareh thanked the parents of the students for their efforts in resolving the problem. He said he was very relieved when they started coming to his office. He also commended the management for accepting the problem to be solved amicably.
However, Mr. Jonathan Goode, Methodist Education Secretary, also commended the gesture. He expressed their relief for having resolved the problem amicably. He said it was definitely going to be difficult to find another place for two thousand students.
“Closing the schools is not the solution,” said Mr. Goode.
The Methodist Education Secretary noted that it was a misunderstanding but that with dialogue they were able to resolve the problem which should not have taken even two days.
He said both parties have learned lessons from the problem.
By Lamin Sanyang