#Article (Archive)

Quality Education is the Key

Apr 14, 2008, 4:34 AM

The 2008 Global Week of Action, an annual event promoted by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), is this year targeting politicians. This is an excellent idea. Our politicians must never forget the importance of education to the future of The Gambia. Since the Global Week of Action started more than 30 million more children have entered school gates and remained within the school gates. The number of children out of school globally is now down to 80 million and illiterate adults to 800 million. Some poor countries have dropped school fees, and in The Gambia, the Girls Education Programme being implemented by government and its' partners has increased access, retention and the performance of girls in schools.

A very important issue which has been raised as part of discussions surrounding the 2008 Global Week of Action is the quality of the education being delivered. The Gambia has made great strides in terms of getting children into classrooms where they never before received an education. As well as continuing this good work the government must be extremely diligent in ensuring that the education they receive there is of the highest possible quality. There is no doubting the contribution being made in this country by untrained teachers but the fact remains they are untrained. This means they are simply not in a position to deliver the standard of education required if we are to consider our children truly educated. The numbers will look very good on paper and to read them an individual or organisation might say that The Gambia has met all its targets in terms of children's access to and attendance of school. This may however mask the fact that the education the child is receiving is below par. This must among the top issues considered by Government in the coming years.

This year, 2008, is the mid-way point for the achievement of the EfA goals. All children must have started school in 2009 if they are to have received a basic education by 2015. It is also 60 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UHDR). Article 26 of the UDHR states that every one has the right to education and that basic education shall be free and compulsory.

Whilst some of these measures have already been achieved in The Gambia, there are still gaps and children and adults are being excluded from education. We must all work together to ensure that this comes to an end. And we must redouble our efforts to ensure that when children are receiving an education that education is of the highest possible standard. If we achieve this it will benefit the national development project in ways beyond what can be measured.