By Ndey Sowe
Stakeholders in the education sector in The Gambia have disclosed their commitment to improve enrollment and retention of students in basic education in region 4, 5 and 6 respectively.
This disclosure came on Thursday 14th January, 2021, during a day consultation meeting with policy makers on the project titled: “Leaving no one behind in the Gambia: improved enrollment and retention in basic education in regions through youths/ women led approach.”
The daylong meeting took place at the Regional Education Office, Region 1 in Kanifing, funded through the UNESCO participation programme 2020-2021, and implemented by NATCOM in collaboration with Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) and EFANET
Maimuna Sidibeh, Principal Programme Officer of the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO, said the project is meant to complement the efforts of MoBSE in boosting enrollment and eliminating school dropout in the Gambia, especially in regions 4, 5 and 6.
“This will be done through series of sensitization campaign with policy makers as well as local communities in a bid to create a shift in the change of cultural and religious mindsets about sending children to school,” she said.
Madam Sidibeh reminded the education stakeholders that they have barley 10 years to reach the timeline of Agenda 2030 on SDG4 which seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
“Moreover, the indication for this should serve as a ringing bell to us as we transverse through the five years since the SDG were launched… Now is the time to take stock on what has been done at country level towards the attainment of SDG4,” she said.
Louis Moses Mendy, MoBSE Permanent Secretary, applauded MRC Holland Foundation for the valuable support in the development of Gambia’s education system over the years.
“The need for us as a sector is to provide equity, quality, relevant and accessible education to every student,” he said.
Mendy urged parents to enroll their children at the appropriate time to avoid dropouts and early marriage especially the girl child.
Kebba Omar Jarjusey, the National Coordinator at Education for all Campaign Network The Gambia (EFANET), said they have been yearning for such a meeting where all education stakeholders, who are interested in the development of education in The Gambia gather to deliberate on pertinent issues.
“As National Assemble Members we lobby you to bring in the right policies, finances and support to endorse whatever is coming to boost enrollment in our schools,” he said.