Educators without Borders International organized a webinar titled Educators in Underprivileged Zones: Achievements and Challenges in the Gambia and Beyond, on 27 March 2022.
H.E Claudiana Ayo Cole, Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Gambia highlighted the main obstacles facing teachers in the underprivileged areas and ways of overcoming the challenges.
The webinar shed light on the government's efforts in the Gambia to promote education and the challenges facing girls' education, especially the lack of awareness and resources.
The minister also discussed the impact of traditions and customs on hindering children's enrollment in schools. She praised the role of international development organizations in supporting education in underprivileged areas.
She referred to the innovative initiatives adopted by the government to promote children's enrollment in schools, mainly raising awareness and decentralization, as well as providing meals in schools, and providing all the needed resources, including textbooks and uniforms with the support of the World Bank.
Increasing the number of female teachers in schools was found to raise the feeling of reassurance among parents and girls, which contributed to a significant increase in the spread of education in the Gambia. It also helped decrease school dropouts, and eventually, the number of girls’ enrollment in schools increased to exceed boys, especially in the early stages of education.
She explained that the practices adopted by the government led to improving education retention and academic achievement.
She pointed out that the challenges facing the education system include the gap between the rate of school enrollment in rural and urban areas, overcrowded classrooms, lack of teachers, modernizing education systems, and building teachers' capacities.