By Omar Bah
The Minister of Basic and Secondary Education yesterday announced that junior and senior schools will reopen throughout the country on Wednesday 14 October while early child development and primary schools will reopen a week later.
“I am pleased to inform all students, teachers, parents and stakeholders that schools will open for Grade 7 to 12 on October 14 and for ECDs to Grade 6 on October 28. It is my hope that maximum attention will be paid to the necessary health regulations,” Minister Claudiana Cole said in a televised address on state TV, GRTS.
Schools and universities throughout the country have been closed since March 18 when the coronavirus hit The Gambia.
Minister Cole said the Ministry intends to complement the reopening of schools “with a recovery strategy by promoting reduced class sizes, distance learning initiatives, extended school days, double shifting and catch up plans to recover learning losses accrued during the school closure. This will also be supported by monitoring the education responses to the pandemic nationally as the data collected on both students and teachers’ wellbeing are analysed to inform the course of action.”
“My Ministry is committed to ensure that schools in The Gambia continue to provide and operate in a safe and secure environment free of abuse and exploitation of children and also to facilitate children’s access to valuable school base services such as health, school feeding, mental health and psychosocial support, water, sanitation, protection and above all rewarding learning opportunities,” she noted.
Minister Cole added: “With this and the collaboration of all stakeholders more especially students and parents, we are optimistic of a safe school reopening for all. In this regard, I will want to make a gentle and humble appeal to parents that while sewing their children’s school uniforms, they could do a mask or two using the same material for uniformity bearing in mind that the wearing of mask is compulsory for everybody.”