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City of Banjul
Saturday, April 17, 2021

UNESCO, stakeholders hold forum to improve enrolment in schools

By Olimatou Coker

Within the framework of the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO participation program 2020-2021, UNESCO and its stakeholders have on Thursday held a day-long consultation under the project “leaving no one behind in The Gambia to improve enrollment and retention in basic education in regions through youths/ women-led approach”.

This project is funded under the UNESCO 2020-201 participation program and is implemented by NATCOM in collaboration with MoBSE and EFANet at a forum held at the regional education office region 1.

The purpose of the proposed project is to improve access to quality basic education for children who are, vulnerable or disadvantaged, to enhance their access to secondary and or tertiary education, and skills training.  the project is aimed at achieving the following, to contribute to the improvement of the net enrolment for girls in the most affected regions and also to create community awareness on the importance of the right age education of their children.

Speaking, Maimuna Sidibeh, the principal program officer of UNESCO, said partners and stakeholders in education, as they are aware, the constitution of the Gambia and the policies of the ministry of basic and secondary education are geared towards the provision of the basic and secondary education for Gambians, with focus on how to meet the current global education targets 2030.

“The principal intent of this project is to complement the efforts of MoBSEin boosting enrolment, and eliminating of school drop out in the Gambia especially in regions 4,5 and 6. this will be done through series of sensitization campaigns with policymakers as well as local communities in a bid to create a shift in the change of cultural and religious mindset about sending children to school,” she explained.

She stated that this is why the leaving no one behind project seeks to boost enrolment and mitigate drop out from school with the view of complementing the ministry’s drive to attain the target to increase in basic education GER to  118% by 2030 including enrolment in madrassas and an increase in completion rates in basic education to education to 100% by 2030 respective.

Sidibeh said UNESCO is optimistic that this high level one day convergence consultation will yield fruitful outcomes to the MoBSE’s campaign to realize its objectives of making education accessible and equitable to all Gambian children present and future generations.

Kebba Omar Jarjusey, the National Coordinator of EFANet, said this is one of the gatherings they are always looking for where they will meet stakeholders that are interested in the development of education.

“We cannot talk about education without the children we all know that children must be enrolled to become students and what government did is to provide inclusive equitable and quality education for all citizenry of this country”.

He stated that they appreciate the good gesture from UNESCO/NATCOM for leading this process by supporting or engaging the communities to know what are some of the issues related to education enrolment in the communities and is by no mistake that this tress region is the right place to go.

He added that this forum will allow them to hear from other stakeholders and what their views are because they want to engage in advocacy for a change.

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