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Minister says discussions ongoing to include madarasas in SIG

Dec 20, 2019, 4:08 PM | Article By: Ismaila Sonko

Basic and Secondary Education Minister Claudiana Cole, has said that Islamic schools (madarasas) and private schools are not part of the School Improvement Grant (SIG). It’s only the government schools that are beneficiaries, she added.

She, however, disclosed that discussions are ongoing to include the Islamic schools in the (SIG).

She made these remarks while responding the questions from the National Assembly Members (NAMs) on Wednesday.

She said the School Improvement Grant (SIG) is based on enrolment, adding the lower basic schools of non-designated hardship areas receive D100 per child per year and those in the hardship areas receive D150 per child per year.

Minister Cole added that the upper basic schools in non-designated hardship areas receive D575 per child per year whilst those in the designated hardship areas receive D675 per child per year.

Ms. Cole further explained that the School Improvement Grant (SIG) allocation per child per year in senior secondary schools that do not receive subvention from government is D1800 and senior secondary schools that receive subvention are given D1300 per child per year. In addition D2000 is given per child for the purchase of textbooks for all students in grade 10. “The Islamic schools are not currently benefiting from the School Improvement Grant (SIG).”

According to her, the 90 million budget allocated for school feeding is quite small in relation to the national demand, adding that government allocation is meant to support the government intervention in only regions 2 and 4.

She noted that 186 schools including madrasas are currently benefiting from the programme. “It’s important to note that all schools in Region 4 are covered; only schools in the upper parts of Region 2 could be covered from the allocation and this was why we requested for an increase in the budget to enable us to cover all schools in these two regions.

Minister Cole added that the other four regions (1,3,5 and 6 ) are World Food Programme’s intervention areas, noting that the programme depends on donor funding. However, because of funding constraints at the moment, only 315 schools are covered across the four regions.