Mr Ebrima Sissawo added: “Virtually, every community has access to school. The total enrolment for girls has increased from 132,591 in 1994 to 411,443 today.”
He made this statement recently at the launch of the global monitoring report 2013/2014, held at the Regional Education Directorate in Kanifing.
Held under the theme ‘Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All’, the event was organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO-NATCOM), in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
Sissawo said the surge in enrolment resulted from expansion of schools, provision of customised transport in some deprived communities and the involvement of communities.
“The most recent and notable intervention is the abolishment of all levies in lower and upper basic schools and the introduction of school grants in all government schools,” he said.
Sissawo added: “We have been able to send more teachers to the university where over 75 teachers graduate yearly.”
Challenges however remain, he said, pointing out to quality and relevance, dropping out of students, especially girls, and regional disparities in terms of facilities.
On his part, Momodou Sanneh, the secretary general of the National Commission for UNESCO, said the Dakar Framework for Action provides the Global Monitoring report as an instrument to assess progress towards achieving the six goals of Education for All, which over 160 countries committed themselves to in 2000.
Sanneh stated that this instrument, among other things, tracks progress, identifies policy reforms and best practices in all areas relating to Education for All and it also draws attention to emerging challenges and promotes international cooperation in support of education.
He said the new report is targeted at decision makers at the national and international levels in promoting the right to quality education, especially, teachers, civil-society groups, NGOs, researchers and the international community.
Meanwhile, the report states that the country’s foremost industry, education, is bedeviled with serious challenges.
It states: “In The Gambia, despite the fact that good progress has been made in expanding access to education across all levels of the schooling system, particularly basic education, the quality and relevance of education has increasingly become a matter of concern. It is constrained by a shortage of well-trained teachers, inadequate teaching materials in schools, [and] weak management of schools as well as difficulty in retaining qualified education personnel.”
It adds: “It is reported that, worldwide, 250 million children many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds not learning the basics. In The Gambia, the recently concluded Early Grade Reading Assessment and Early Grade Mathematics Assessments results are revealing the low level of students learning outcomes. The EFA Goal 6 that deals with quality is far from being achieved. It is obvious that teachers, among many other factors, contributed to this critical learning crisis in The Gambia.”]]>