Transcribed by Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
On Wednesday 19th, 2018, almost 30 Gambians and friends convened at a roundtable meeting in Portculis House, Offices of UK’s member of Parliament, where the Gambia’s High Commissioner, Rene Blain laid out the Gambia Government’s 10 point strategy on Education. Sat at the roundtable were Peter Williams, Hon President of the Commonwealth Consortium for Education and some influential Gambians in British academia, including organisers Patricia Lamour (MBE) of Aspire and Dr. Momodou Sallah of Global Hands.
This roundtable meeting was a follow up from similar roundtable meetings held in the Gambia with education stakeholders. Aspire Education Group and Partners are currently drafting and will subsequently publish a 10-year roadmap on the theme “Education and Skills for Wealth in the Gambia”. This article features the statement from Rene Blain which may shed light on how the Government aims to reorientate the Gambia’s faltering education system.
Education 10 Point Plan
Statement by Rene Blain, Gambian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
“From an economic perspective, the Gambia Government is firmly committed to pursuing a national economic system based on principles of justice, equity, democracy, participation, transparency, accountability, and scrupulously effective control of the management of public funds.
In that context, the government is implementing sound macroeconomic policies aimed at sustaining high rates of economic growth, full employment and simultaneously ensuring that the benefits of economic growth is equitably distributed to all Gambians particularly the poor in the rural areas.
The Gambia Government’s strategy on education focuses on the improvement of education throughout the Gambia including;
- Improving the planning governance and management of higher education,
- Enhancing the quality of basic education and functional literacy,
- The building of new schools and additional classrooms in existing schools, providing science laboratories, information technology and new furniture for schools,
- Improving the qualification and quality of teachers and upgrading of schools around the country,
- Concerted efforts to effectively raise women’s level of education, literacy and skills, all of which are crucial for the full participation of women in development,
- Increase women’s access to modern, scientific and technological innovations and credit,
- A training program in entrepreneurial skills for women entrepreneurs engaged in food processing technology, including ecommerce, entrepreneurial awareness, management skills and the attendant technical knowledge necessary to run small enterprises in the food processing sector,
- Curriculum reform designed to ensure that the skills knowledge and attitudes acquired are relevant to the development needs of the Gambia,
- The strengthening of higher education science and technology as part of the effort to develop coherent and sustainable systems for technological skills, and
- Human resources development in the form of Commonwealth scholarships tenable in the United Kingdom as part of a coordinated effort to increase and strengthen national capacities in various areas.
It cannot be overemphasised that the Gambian Diaspora in the United Kingdom, particularly those in a position to do so, have an important role to play either individually or in partnership with British nationals. To support the Gambia Government’s laudable efforts in the key sectors of agriculture, fisheries, private sector initiatives focussing specifically on small and medium scale enterprises, energy, tourism, education, health and infrastructure. It is particularly reassuring that this round table will address some of the priority issues in the education sector of the Gambia I have already outlined. And in that context I wish you a successful and productive roundtable, thank you very much.”