Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has organised a daylong workshop with
its development partners and other stakeholders to review the programmes,
progress and challenges of the education sector.
Speaking on the occasion held at the regional education office in Kanifing on Tuesday, Claudiana Cole, minister of Basic and Secondary Education, said the annual joint educational review conference is in line with the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP 2015-2022).
She said a successor programme of the strategic plan 2015-2022 is being prepared and will be co-financed by the World Back through the International Development Assistance, and Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
The education minister said the joint review conference “is a great avenue” to engage in policy dialogue to ensure ownership, accountability and transparency of programme implementation and monitoring process.
She said The Gambia government had invested in expanding enrolment at all levels and improving the quantity of education which led to the achievement of the Universal Primary Education (UPE).
This achievement, according to the minister, had further expanded to gender balance in enrolment in lower basic, upper basic and senior secondary schools.
Minister Cole said improving students’ learning outcome remains the government’s priority.
She said the government “is heavily engaged” in addressing access and quality challenges in the education sector through a combination of policies and interventions.
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Juldeh Ceesay, said the joint conference was in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action.
These documents provide basis for addressing systemic issues, strengthen governance, ownership, mutual accountability, donor harmonisation, improved performance, reduced transaction costs and increased donor coordination and reduced transaction costs.
Madam Ceesay said the conference would address the issues of raising standards, government commitment to the allocation of resources to the education sector, monitoring and evaluation of progammes and rigorous classrooms observation to improve quality of teaching and learning.
According to her, The Gambia had made tremendous progress in access to education and gender equality, which had been made possible thanks to the support of multilateral funding agencies and bilateral technical cooperation.
However, she said even though the education sector is improving, there are still funding gaps that need to be filled and the ministry itself should take a lead role in resources mobilization.
Madam Ceesay said the issue of financing is of the utmost importance to the growth and development of education in The Gambia.
“Education can accelerate economic growth and investment which is the key indicator to expand and improve quality education,” she said. “The education sector needs more investment and already the World Bank and GPE Financing for 2018 will amount to US$35 million, Kuwait Fund approximately US$20 million.
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance said her ministry will continue to provide the necessary financial support to the education sector and also to monitor the mechanism to ensure that the targets set are achieved.
Ceesay said the government has an important role in education sector, particular higher education, to grow in the areas such as skills, knowledge on global economy and achieve social economic structure and ensure relevance, equality, excellence and free education for lower and upper basic.
Minister of Higher Education Badara Joof gave similar sentiments on the impact the review has on his sector; so their uppermost aim now is strengthening its sector to cover the need in skills in development purposes.
Ryoko Tomita Wilcox, a representative of the World Bank, said the World Bank is well aware of the achievements in the education sector.