By Omar Bah
The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, MoBSE, has validated The Gambia Education Service Delivery Indicators 2020 Draft Report aimed at ensuring quality teaching in the country’s lower basic schools.
The report provides information on teachers’ efforts, knowledge and ability and information on key inputs such as text books, basic teaching equipment and infrastructure.
Speaking at the validation, the permanent secretary Louis Moses Mendy said the draft report is one of the components of his ministry’s transformation agenda.
“The Gambian people have been crying for quality education for years now. The ministry wants to ensure that we achieve in the shortest time possible because quality is a concern and the ministry is committed to restoring the past glories of the 1960s,” he said.
PS Mendy said often civil servants prefer taking their children to private schools because they don’t trust the public institutions, arguing that it should be a collective responsibility to ensure that those public institutions are trusted.
He said quality education is “not determined by the number of pupils in class but the quality of teachers, the resources and infrastructure needed for that teaching and learning to take place”.
“When these things are absent even if you have one to one as teacher-pupil ratio – you will not achieve the desired result. So for that reason, this report has been commissioned to look at a holistic view of what we need as a sector to be able to work towards providing quality education,” PS Mendy said.
He said that is why the report had looked at other ratios beyond pupil and teacher ratio.
PS Mendy said the study will ensure that henceforth when the ministry works with the government to ask for funding, it will be informed by some form of research.
He said the Gambia is the second country in the sub-region to commission the study.
The national coordinator of ERNWACA Ebrima M.S. Njie, who was part of the research team, said the service delivery study provides a set of metrics for providing service delivery performance in education.
“With these indicators one is able to identify gaps, track progress over time and across countries. The study has been carried out in many African countries and The Gambia is the latest,” Njie said.
The senior educationist said the implementation period was from October to December to 2020 and it involved supervisor and enumerator training, testing of learning instruments, field work and data collection.
“Samples of 180 lower basic schools which have Grade 4 were in the sample of all LBS in the Gambia. The sample also includes all types of schools – public, private, grant-aided and Arabic Schools and it was carried out throughout the country,” he said.
Mr Njie said on the Gambia’s case study the World Bank who funded the study insisted on electronic data collections.
According to the report, on average, 12.1 percent of teachers were found to be absent from school and that absence from the classroom was more serious with up to 26.4 percent of the teachers not in the class, which indicates that while in school, teachers spent on average about 26 percent of time on non-teaching activities.
The results, the report said, clearly show that pupils only had 2 hours and 59 minutes (178.7 minutes) of teaching time every day out of the scheduled teaching time of 4 hours 3 minutes (242.5 minutes).
It said there is a gap created between the teacher effort and the pupil learning outcomes and the gap observably can be attributed to the very low teachers’ knowledge and ability of Lower Basic School teachers in the country.