Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta
Date of Birth: 1941
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Banjul
Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, born on June 22, 1956, in Bathurst (now Banjul), is a prominent Gambian politician and educator, renowned for her significant contributions to education and sustainable development both nationally and internationally.
Ndong-Jatta's academic journey began at St. Joseph's High School in Bathurst, where she laid the foundation for her future endeavors. She pursued higher education at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria, focusing on history and education, culminating in her graduation in 1981. Her academic pursuits further led her to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she was awarded a scholarship from the American Alpine Institute to pursue a master's degree in educational leadership, which she completed in 1983. Demonstrating her commitment to continuous learning, Ndong-Jatta undertook postgraduate programs in Policy Analysis and Leaders in Development at Harvard University, enhancing her knowledge and expertise in education policy and development.
Upon her return to Gambia in 1985, Ndong-Jatta made history by becoming the first female principal at St. Peter's High School, breaking barriers and inspiring future generations of female educators. Concurrently, she served as the Coordinator of the Principal Training Program, sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat, demonstrating her leadership and management skills. Her exemplary leadership earned her recognition and paved the way for further advancements in her career.
Ndong-Jatta's dedication to education continued to flourish as she assumed roles of increasing responsibility, including Director of Planning and subsequently the first Chief Education Officer and Director of Secondary and Tertiary Education. Her tenure in these positions was marked by innovative initiatives and strategic reforms aimed at enhancing the quality and accessibility of education in Gambia.
From January 1999 to 2004, Ndong-Jatta served as Minister of Education in the Yahya Jammeh cabinet, where she spearheaded transformative policies and initiatives to advance education across the country. Her tenure was characterized by a steadfast commitment to educational excellence and equity, leaving a lasting impact on Gambia's educational landscape.
Following her term as Minister of Education, Ndong-Jatta transitioned to the international arena, joining UNESCO as Director of Basic Education in 2004. Her leadership and expertise were instrumental in shaping UNESCO's education agenda, with a focus on promoting inclusive and quality education for all.
In recognition of her exemplary service and dedication to education, Ndong-Jatta was appointed Director of UNESCO's Regional Office for East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2016. In this role, she oversees UNESCO's education initiatives and programs across a diverse range of countries, contributing to the advancement of education and sustainable development in the region.
In addition to her contributions to education and politics, Ndong-Jatta is also a published poet, with her works featured in the anthology "The Repeal and Other Poems." Her poetry, alongside other renowned Gambian poets, has been celebrated for its poignant themes and contributions to Gambian literature and feminist discourse.