By Lamin B Darboe
Minister for Basic and Secondary Education, Claudiana Cole has signed a framework agreement with the Education Above All (EAA) foundation during the World International Summit for Education (WISE), held in Doha, Qatar on 9th December, 2021.
The goal of the framework agreement is to support the implementation of educational activities with a view to accelerating enrolment and retention of all remaining Zero Out of School Children (OOSC) in The Gambia. This will also ensure quality primary education and attain OOSC or Universal Primary Education status.
The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), and other education stakeholders in The Gambia will design an education project targeting the remaining 61,765 OOSC. This project will be rolled out in partnership with EAA and other education stakeholders.
The Gambia was among the first four nations in the world to join EAA’s global OOSC campaign, initiated at the WISE conference two years ago. EAA’s Educate A Child (EAC) programme works hand-in-hand with a selected number of countries to “go the last mile” by identifying and enrolling the most invisible children, the pockets of OOSC that have yet proved hard to reach.
While education is key to achieving the SDGs set out by the United Nations, many countries are yet to reach universal primary education (UPE), the 100 percent enrollment of all school-age children in primary school. Currently, more than 59 million primary-aged children are out of school worldwide.
The new Zero country level pledges were accompanied by “Zero Out of School Children” being officially adopted by the UN into its Decade of Action, and follow EAC’s recent achievement of enrolling 10 million primary-aged children in education around the world.
EAC has been in discussions with MoBSE on enhancing access to quality primary level education for out of school children in the country, thus the MoBSE team together with other education stakeholders in the country have participated in several meetings with the EAC team; to concretise the strategies towards having a viable project for OOSC initiative.
MoBSE in partnership with Unicef and other educational partners in the country, are in the process of finalising the project designed to identify and enroll all the out of school children into quality primary level education, and to ensure that these children will remain in school till completion.