Establishment and Mandate
Civic Education in The Gambia is perceived as a process through which the citizenry acquires knowledge, skills and values that are needed for effective democratic citizenship. Based on the perceived need to promote the civic consciousness of the citizens, the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia (chapter XVII, Article 199(1)) provides for the establishment of a Civic Education Programme, whose mission and mandate are to:
- Create and sustain within society, awareness of the principles and objectives of the Constitution as the fundamental law of The Gambia;
- Educate and encourage the public to defend the Constitution against all forms of abuse and violence;
- Formulate from time to time for the consideration of Government, programmes at national, regional and district levels aimed at realising the objectives of the Constitution;
- Educate the citizens of the Gambia about international, regional and sub-regional matters relevant to The Gambia;
- Formulate, implement and oversee programmes aimed at inculcating in the citizens of the Gambia awareness of their Civic and Fundamental rights, duties and responsibilities.
Corresponding with the 1997 Constitutional provision for The Gambia Civic Education programme, The Gambia National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) Act of 1998 was passed. The NCCE was created as an independent non-partisan Council under the Constitution. It is task with designing and co-ordinating Civic Education programmes and to serve as the advocacy component to the National Governance Programme. The Act thus places responsibility on the Council, for sensitisation, information and education of the citizenry, particularly at the grassroots, of their rights and responsibilities under the constitution.
The NCCE Organisational Structure & Administration
The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), as provided in the Constitution and established by the 1998 NCCE Act of National Assembly, is the governing body of the civic education programme.
The Council which meets once every quarter has 5 members including the chairman who is the executive head and four members. The Council carries out its mandate through the following organ.
The Secretariat is the administrative arm of the NCCE. It is headed by an administrative secretary, who is supported by technical and support staff. The secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day operation of NCCE activities and programmes. The current staff of the secretariat consists of the Administrative Secretary, Deputy Administrative Secretary, Programme Officers, Civic Education Officers, Civic Education Supervisors, Secretaries and Ancillary Staff. At grassroots level NCCE relies on the services of grassroots facilitators to deliver Civic Education Programmes.
The Scope and Content of Civic Education
The Gambia Civic Education programme, in accordance with the mandate for Civic Education, has very broad scope that encompasses activities for citizens’ education, information and communication within one mould.
The Civic Education Strategic Programme is designed to weave the various components of the broad scope into a synergy such that each theme becomes holistic.
The Civic Education central sub-component Education for Democratic Citizenship is analyzed with focus on ten (10) major themes which are summarised as follows:
|The Gambian ConstitutionObjectives:
Purpose of the constitution:
The constitution as fundamental law of the land
Qualifications for citizenship:
Ways of acquiring citizenship:
Definition and characteristic of democracy
|Rights & ResponsibilitiesObjectives:
Accountability and transparency
Devolution of authority, responsibilities and resources
Localisation of governance
National anthem & pledge
Promoting Gambian cultures
|Conflict Prevention and ResolutionObjectives:
Sources of conflict: e.g.
Prevention of conflict
Management of conflict
Establishment and Mandate
In the process of the roles of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) a variety of media and delivery systems are used. The medium for communicating Civic Education messages are usually through both the formal and informal channels. The formal include radio, television and newspapers. The folklore drama groups and community outreach activities form the basis of the non-formal channels.
1. Radio & Television Programmes
The radio and television are widely used in civic awareness creation. Community radios are instrumental in dealing with local issues whereas the national radio and television normally cover issues of national concern. The strategy use is through panel discussions, live phone-in and airing of special activities in which NCCE and other stakeholders are involved.
2. Community Outreach Activities
This delivery method is based on the premise that grassroots participation is fundamental for the development of civic knowledge, skills and values. It is therefore necessary for activities to be undertaken at community level. The strategies involve the use of open village meetings as means of transmitting civic information and messages. Participation of women and youth groups will be essential for the success of community activities.
3. Newspaper Publications
The expansion and proliferation of newspapers in the Gambia is growing rapidly. Many of the newspapers have a wider readership both within the Gambia and outside of the country and they are online. Civic education with the use of this delivery method is essential. The strategy use involve writing publication of civic education messages in the form of articles and inviting the journalists in civic education forums and sensitisation meetings.
4. Folklore Drama Groups
Gambia has a rich tradition of folklore drama. Folklore drama groups have traditionally been used for the entertainment and teaching of the younger generation on important cultural norms and values. The groups use songs and drama to convey important social and moral messages.