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Published On: Fri, Jan 26th, 2024

46,000 Children in The Gambia Face Potential Challenging Future

In a joint statement, made by Minister Claudiana A. Cole Minister of Basic and Secondary Education and the United Nation’s Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Representative Ms. Nafisa Binte Shafique of the Gambia call for the scaling up of school enrolment for the 46,000 children who are still out of school and face a potential challenging future due to lack of education.

This statement was released on the occasion of the International Day of Education, which is commemorated annually on the 24th of January as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 3rd December 2018.

The statement quoted “all partners, especially parents, private sector and development partners, to make it an urgent priority to ensure every child is in school at the right age, and to invest more in the education and skills of children”.

The statement further stated that “Children are missing out on so many crucial opportunities when they are denied the right to education which is a basic right that no child should have to struggle for, adding that many children are not able to experience the full cycle of schooling – primary school completion rate is at 88 percent, upper basic school 65 percent and senior secondary school 47 percent “we must work stronger together to support children to enroll, stay in school and learn”.

The top officials deem it more necessary than ever to support national efforts to ensure quality education, Considering these worrying figures.

They contend that this could be achieved by building more disability-accessible schools with the right facilities and resources for learning, empowering and motivating teachers to deliver quality lessons, and supporting families in difficult circumstances to cover the associated costs of education and other basic needs that hinder their children’s education.

Nonetheless, the top officials also recognize and acknowledge the significant strides attained in the nation’s education domain, which has massively bolstered, with most children now having access to a primary school within two kilometers of their homes.

According to the bodies, this stands as a concrete testament to The Gambia’s commitment to fulfilling the fundamental right of every child to education as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

However, while highlighting the unswerving commitment of government and the current efforts being wielded, the duo acknowledged the vacuum that persists. Thus, they once again urge a collective effort to address the learning crisis, such as investment in foundational learning.

They conclude that the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and UNICEF will continue to actively work together, through the Zero Out-Of-School Children project that is funded by the Education Above All Foundation and other initiatives, to ensure children in The Gambia have equal opportunities to enroll in school and learn until they complete their education.

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