Barrow says country's unemployment rate at 41.5%

Sep 22, 2022, 12:22 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

President Adama Barrow revealed that more than half of the country’s population falls between the ages of 15 and 64, with 41.5% unemployed and facing challenges of limited access to markets and microfinance services, critical structural reforms, and innovative curricula adjustments.

Delivering the national statement of commitment to transforming education at the transforming education summit on the side-lines of the UNGA77 in New York, he added that improved training programmes will be initiated.

President Barrow in his statement continued that his government would invest in foundational literacy and numeracy, and employ skills development initiatives that enhance independent learning, creativity, interpersonal skills and critical thinking capabilities. He said the government renews its commitment to strengthening the education system.

“With the closure of schools in the country as a result of the pandemic, the Government resorted to delivering limited distance learning sessions. Our vision is to build upon emerging distance and digital learning approaches while strengthening face-to-face curriculum delivery. This requires improving internet access, electricity coverage and adequately training school teachers, trainers and facilitators.” 

The head of state reiterated that the country’s digital learning platforms are insufficient and ill-equipped, and the workforce is not capacitated enough, saying the desire to guarantee foundational and transferable skills for life-long learning for the youth is not matched by the requisite circumstances.

He said The Gambia government, therefore, renews its commitment to improving the welfare and professional development of the education workforce.

In the past, he continued that the school system in The Gambia focused heavily on academic achievement, leading to the perception that TVET is reserved for academic failures.

“The Government will establish more technical senior secondary schools, upgrade subvented tertiary institutions to degree-awarding institutions and establish tertiary TVET centres in all administrative regions. The objective is to build TVET-based foundational skills and promote indigenous content.”

“The Gambia government resolves to promote and invest in TVET and skills development to enhance scientific research and innovation, independent learning, critical thinking and creativity. While The Gambia acknowledges that education financing is critical for success and an indicator of commitment to transforming education, resources are inadequate to appreciably finance TVET, scientific research, innovation and technology development.”