National Statement of Commitment for Transforming Education
At the Transforming Education Summit on the Side-lines of the UNGA77 in New York
The Gambia upholds education and skills acquisition as a right for every citizen, and this drives the search for appropriate approaches to transform education for the attainment of our goals and commitments.
Key among these is achieving high levels of learning and skills outcomes, with more than 80 per cent of children achieving the minimum learning competencies and standards outlined in our National Education Policy.
Given that more than half the country’s population falls between the ages of 15 and 64, with 41.5 per cent of them unemployed and facing challenges of limited access to markets and microfinance services, critical structural reforms, innovative curricula adjustments and improved training programmes will be initiated.
The Government will invest in foundational literacy and numeracy and employ skills development initiatives that enhance independent learning, creativity, interpersonal skills and critical thinking capabilities. Accordingly, 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 country’s digital learning platforms are insufficient and ill-equipped, and the workforce is not capacitated enough. Consequently, the desire to guarantee foundational and transferable skills for life-long learning for the youth is not matched by the requisite circumstances.
The Gambia Government, therefore, renews its commitment to improving the welfare and professional development of the education workforce.
In the past, 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.
The Government will pursue innovative and smart financing strategies of education. Steps will be taken so that increased public budget allocation and spending are anchored on efficiency measures and partnerships expanded to meet this commitment.
The Transforming Education Summit marks a critical milestone to pave the road to meeting the 2030 SDGs commitment.
As such, besides strengthening engagements with partners and stakeholders, the Government will improve on the quality of monitoring and reporting of Education SDG indicators.
The Gambia has a sizeable and diversely talented community in the diaspora. The Government will explore ways of tapping deeper into this community to support the education transformation agenda.