While teaching in the Gambia, Abdul Conteh from Sierra Leone, learned firsthand the limits that can come with ‘migrant’ status.

“As a non-Gambian, teaching in The Gambia goes along with a lot of challenges. I have been teaching in Senior Secondary Schools in The Gambia for the past six years. My primary purpose of travelling to The Gambia was to visit friends. I later came to realize that The Gambia was paying teachers better than my country, Sierra Leone. This motivated me to stay and take up a teaching job in the country.

In most schools, there is a cordial working relationship between Gambian and non-Gambian teachers. The administration works towards maintaining a professional, peaceful and friendly environment for all teachers regardless of their nationality.

The major challenge faced by Non-Gambians teaching in The Gambia, involves those teaching in public schools. As a public school Non-Gambian teacher, there is a limitation regarding the level you can attain on the Gambian pay scale designed for all civil servants. In a school setting, this scale ranges from 8.1 to 10.8 for all qualified and graduate teachers. Non-Gambian teachers in all public schools are only allowed to reach 8.8 on this scale. This implies that a non-Gambian teacher cannot be appointed a Vice Principal or Principal in any Gambian public school regardless of their qualification or experience. […] You are left with only two choices either to accept the situation or quit the job, but your love for your profession and the children you teach give you courage to help you accept the situation.”