By Aji Fatou Faal
The minister of Basic and Secondary Education has disclosed that the ministry will abolish all forms of levies in public lower, upper and senior secondary schools by providing them with grants.
Claudiana Cole made this remark in response to a question posed by Halifa Sallah, NAM for Serekunda, who wanted to know whether a free education policy exists in public schools.
She further revealed that her ministry introduced the free education policy through the Schools Improvement Grant by eliminating school fees and other levies that were barriers to access adding that this covers everything except uniforms, exercise books and lunch money.
According to her, following the success of the pilot, MoBSE has now scaled up the programme to cover all public lower basic schools in the country.
Responding to a question by Sidia Jatta on the challenges on teaching the five national languages in the schools, the minister said they have in fact added two additional languages, Manjako and Serere. “We are implementing seven national languages to support the development of reading skills of children in early grades from early childhood to Grade 3,” she explained. According to the minister, challenges exist in the implementation of the project in some schools in Region 6, where there are inadequate numbers of Sarahule teachers forcing them to rely on teachers who are not well versed in the language. “We then trained them on the orthography and methodology. Similarly, the same situation prevailed in Foni regarding the teaching of Jola. We do a lot of training and coaching to support these teachers,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Assembly adopted nomination of membership to the Parliamentary Friendship Groups established between the National Assembly of The Gambia and the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey respectively.