The Gambia will get at least USD $8 million as part of a grant, Education Achievement and Development Project to construct at least 40 new schools, help with paying teachers’ salaries and stipends and support early childhood education.
Enrolment rates in The Gambia have improved since the start of the new millennium, but quality remains an issue. High teacher and student absenteeism, low content knowledge of trainee teachers, and few career development opportunities for teachers, compromise quality education in the country, according to a report by the education ministry.
More than half of the country’s teachers are unqualified.
Teaching is not a popular profession in The Gambia. Teachers earn less than $40 a month, about the price of a bag of rice, the country’s staple food.
The grant obtained through the READ project will be used to address some of these urgent needs, especially in the provinces, where teachers are not willing to stay.
Although students’ performance has declined, The Gambia has made some progress thanks to grants from the World Bank.
The country’s president, Yahya Jammeh has promised free university education as part of a new higher education plan set to start by 2018. The country is hoping to graduate more students to be globally competitive. The West African nation is already providing free education to girls in government schools.