This profile was prepared when Fatou Jobe was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
The idea of affordable remedial education is new in Gambia, and Fatou Bin Jobe has found the means to offer such education to Gambia's public school children. She is now providing a mechanism through which to educate and support middle and high school students throughout the country. Fatou has established an after-school learning center that provides students with the resources and attention that Gambian public schools cannot. Her center provides small classes, individual student assessments, and participatory pedagogical techniques (such as student reports and journals), all of which are unavailable in public schools. What's more, the center helps instill students, especially young girls, with the intellectual self-confidence they need to defy the cultural pressures that militate against education.Most importantly, by building a base of support in local communities and securing international partners, Fatou has made her center an affordable option for low-income families. Parents pay 150 Dalassi (US $13) per month for a structured after-school remedial program which provides the only alternative to expensive tutors and private schools. Fatou has secured materials from abroad inexpensively, found motivated teachers to work in her learning center for less because working conditions are so much better, and encouraged local citizens to donate equipment. One of her central insights is that community support and participation is a critical element to students' success at the learning centers.