|St Michel Complexe|
A group of thirteen students studying International Commerce at the University of Complexe Saint Michel de Dakar in Senegal, an affiliate of the Catholic University of West Africa, recently completed one month job placement at various institutions in The Gambia.
The job placement, which started in 2004, is an aspect of the bilateral relationship between the Dakar institute and St. Augustine’s Senior Secondary School in Banjul, in which the former sends its students annually to The Gambia for job placement mainly at some of the financial institutions in the country to enable the students to perfect their knowledge of English Language and to have on-the-job-training.
“These are some of the students studying International Commerce at St. Michel; they have come to The Gambia to perfect their English Language because their area of study requires them to be bi-lingual,” said Martin Gomez, principal of St. Augustine’s Senior Secondary School, who is the representative of St. Michel in The Gambia.
Mr. Gomez was speaking to reporters at the weekend at a dinner party held at Baobab Holiday Resort in Bijilo organised by St. Michel to mark the end of the job placement, which takes place from 1 to 31 March every year.
The dinner, attended by the Senegalese Ambassador in The Gambia, was meant to say ‘thank you’ to St. Michel partner institutions in The Gambia, with whose support the job placement has always been a success. It also availed the management of St. Michel, led by the managing director, to have an interaction with partners in the country with regard to the ways and means of improving on the relationship.
Mr. Gomez explained that the job placement enables the students to have firsthand knowledge and experience on their areas of specialization. Those who are dealing with banking will know how banking system operates; the same thing applies to those in insurance and other financial disciplines.
The bilateral relationship between St. Michel and St. Augustine started long ago but gradually died out and it was not until when Mr. Gomez took over the mantle of leadership at St. Augustine’s as the principal that the link was revived.
“Before I revived the link, they were working with the Gambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Ministry of Basic Secondary Education,” he said. “So when I revived the link I became their full representative in The Gambia.”
Dilating on the benefits of the job placement, Mr. Gomez said: “The feedback we use to get from them is that most of them easily get jobs after the placement. This is because apart from having the on-the-job-experience, the programme helps the students to improve their professional use of English language, which gives them an added advantage and it opens up better avenues for them to get job easily.”
Adolph Preira, an English language lecturer at St. Michel, said that after completing the job placement, all the students work hard to succeed in their examination because language is very important in their course.
“You cannot study international commerce without the knowledge of English Language. So this placement is of real benefit to the students because all the students, from the beginning to now, who attend the job placement here, use to pass their exam at the end,” he said.
“The problem we have in Senegal is that we learn English Language but the environment does not allow us to use the language professionally. So most of the time the students know the words but in examination they guess; but those who come to The Gambia face the reality, they face the situation, they deal with those kind of things. That is why when they return from their job placement in The Gambia they all use to succeed, and this is something very important.”
St Michel Complexe comprises a primary school, an upper basic school, a high school, a college and a university.