Gambia: Sunday 05 July 2020 | Alkali Cham |
The declaration of the state of public emergency by the president of the Republic of The Gambia on the basis of curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which imposed restrictions on social gatherings including religious congregations and school activities which heavily affected school population as some categories of schools are still observing the lockdown.
The Minister for Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE) Claudiana Cole, has informed the National Assembly that, over 63,400 students are currently housed at home without accessing educational facilities such as schools and other related educational materials due to the lockdown measures.
The minister on Monday,1 st of July, told the members of the National Assembly during the question and answer session that the central government has not issued her Ministry with a single butut to facilitate some ministerial functions amid the lockdown. She rubbished the rumor that her ministry was allocated some D34million by the state to enable them conduct home base distance learning which is being featured on various media outlets.
According to the minister, this fund was provided to them by donor partners such as the World Bank, UNICEF and others but not from the state consolidated funds.
The MOBSE boss stated that the lockdown has undermined the instructional and contact hours which are fundamental to quality education, she added that in order for other sector of schools to transit to another level as clearly there has not been any exams conducted across the country, schools will depends on the continuous assessment to facilitate their transition , she stated.
When asked what is her ministry’s position to ensure the lost contact hours are being recouped, she responded her ministry may attempt to increase the school days also to adjust the daily hours and to reduce the number of holidays etc.
Its will be recalled that, last two weeks the MOBSE had lifted restriction on the grade 9 schools with strict safety quite lines attached to it whilst other sector of schools remains closed till further notice.
This has created a tense debate in the society as to whether MOBSE will ever open school to other grades apart from the grade 9 schools as only few days are left to the official closure of the 2019/2020 academic year.