By Juldeh Njie
A two-day national dialogue on education is currently underway at a local hotel in Senegambia.
It seeks to bring together stakeholders to discuss and map the way forward in improving access, equity, quality and relevance in the country’s education system, which has been in dire straits in recent years.
The national dialogue will also seek to strengthen partnerships and stakeholder ownership of the education system of The Gambia.
The coordinator of Action on Education – a consortium of stakeholders hosted by Paradise Foundation with the objective to advocate for reforms in the education system – Aisha Baldeh, gave a detailed explanation of the objective of the dialogue.
“The dialogue will critically and honestly examine the adequacy of the methodology, content and relevance of our current education system and establish an advocacy agenda and a group to formulate and inform policy change action.”
Ms Baldeh, who doubles as director of Paradise Foundation, desbribed the two-day conference, which is being organised under the theme ‘is about deeds, not words’, as ‘a wake-up call and a call-to-action.’
She said: “An educated nation is one where citizens make informed choices about the most important things affecting their lives; decent or improved job prospects, their personal health and wellbeing and that of their communities and yes, even about the political choices they make.”
She said the forum will be centred on the three thematic areas – quality of learning, equity and the purpose of our education system.
“After discussions on the proposed themes, a group will be formed to document key points and responses, which will be formulated into an advocacy document to be submitted to the government and key stakeholders for policy change,” Ms Baldeh explained.
“The answers do not lie with one organisation or one sector of society,” she went on. “We are calling on all stakeholders to get involved in finding the solutions [to challenges underpinning the education system of The Gambia],” she said.