EFANet urges gov't, political actors to protect education in emergencies

May 23, 2022, 10:50 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Board Chair Bakary Badjie of Education for All Campaign Network (EFANet), has called on the state and political actors to protect education in emergencies by ensuring the right to education for affected citizens, refugees, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by wars, conflict and climate change.

He made this call on Saturday during the Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) held in Jarra Soma. GAWE is one of the major focal points for the education movement. It provides every national and regional education campaign with an opportunity to highlight one key area of the education for all agenda and make target campaigners and millions of members of the public worldwide join together for the same cause.

Mr. Badjie stated that the realisation of the human right to education requires multiple efforts from all sectors of society, and it is dependent on the compliance with specific obligations of governments and the international community.

"The impact of the recent conflict situation on education in Foni, EFANet conducted a tour visit of the affected communities to assess the impact on the right to education with a view of advocating in the emergency situation in Foni and other places elsewhere in the country."

He added that EFANet has been leading the advocacy campaign for access to free inclusive, quality education for all, saying they wished to renew their commitment to advocating for inclusive, equitable, supportive, and democratic societies, and as well use the GAWE as a mechanism that reminds the central role of civil society, students, women, people with disabilities and teachers in the struggle for a world that leaves no one behind.

Moses Mendy, the permanent secretary at Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE), expressed delight, while applauding the students and the teachers to keep and maintain the spirit of education. 

"Over the past, MOBSE decided to review and expand the curriculum. Among the subjects that we included is the reintroduction of civil education. The fundamental of reintroducing civil education is key because if we want a future, we must begin to invest now. We are committed to ensuring that the country begins to regain its cultural and ethical values"  

Unfortunately, he said that our society is more of hate speech now, disrespect, regard for human life, and regard for elders. Mr. Mendy reiterated that sometimes one walks in the streets and sees certain things happen, and one begins to ask “whether it’s the same country our parents left for us.” 

He said collectively, every Gambian needs to be on their feet to ensure The Gambia is reborn for the common good and human purpose. 

Kebba Darbo, acting governor for Lower River Region (LRR) pledged to support the government to make so that the education in the region and the country is protected at all costs, and adhere to and comply with the safe schools framework developed by MOBSE. 

"Since education cannot go without recognising the efforts of teachers and guaranteeing their rights, my region will ensure that teachers are protected, and adequately trained and remunerated. We will join EFANet and the global community to advocate for investment in education in emergencies and crises, hence the education sector remains one of the most underfunded areas of humanitarian aid."

Omar Jajursey, the national coordinator for EFANet said, this year's GAWE makes strong call for states, world leaders, and the international community to protect education in emergencies now. He added that the Foni border crisis between the Senegalese gov’t and the MFDC separatists has a toll on education in the country as schools along the borderline communities were closed for days resulting in the loss of numerous valuable contact hours. 

"EFANet as a member of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) movement is fully committed to the fight for guaranteeing the right to education of the millions of people living in emergency and protracted crisis contexts, as well as to put pressure on the states so that they take the urgent measures that are needed to achieve this goal and the SDG4."

Lamin Fatty, the representative of Child Protection Alliance, and Lamin Marr, director of Planning and the representative of Mansakonko Area Council both dwelled on the role of their respective activities in protecting education in emergencies.