• The project aims to enrol 66,765 out of school children (OOSC) in quality primary education by raising public awareness, improving infrastructure, and developing a flexible learning system
March 22, 2023 (Doha, Qatar) – The global education foundation, Education Above All (EAA) and its partner UNICEF, with support from Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD), and in collaboration with the Government of The Gambia, launched a groundbreaking project to ensure that every child under the age of 18 that has missed out on a primary education is enrolled in school and receiving a quality education. The launch took place in the presence of H.E. Mrs Fatoumatta Bah Barrow, The First Lady of The Gambia, Ms Claudiana Ayo Cole, Gambia’s Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Mary Joy Pigozzi, Executive Director of EAA’s Educate A Child programme, and Dr. Shahid Mahbub Awan, UNICEF The Gambia Acting Representative.
EAA’s Educate A Child programme partnered with UNICEF in The Gambia to enrol and retain 66,765 out of school children and adolescents into quality primary education and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education will implement the three-year project across the country. The goal of this project is to ensure that all the remaining OOSC in the country are enrolled in quality primary education, thus helping the country achieve Zero Out of School Children.
The project will employ several innovative strategic interventions including, community engagement to drive demand for education services, cash transfer programmes both as an incentive and to ease financial burdens, and the provision of bicycles to students who have to travel long distances to school, to encourage attendance. Furthermore, there will be collaboration across different ministries to identify, enrol and monitor the country’s hardest-to-reach OOSC. Quality improvement will be supported through increased teacher recruitment, targeted teacher training and the provision of learning materials. To further encourage access, new disability-friendly classrooms and gender-sensitive toilets will be constructed.
“Children everywhere, irrespective of their gender, socio-economic standing, physical and mental abilities and other factors, have the same fundamental right to quality education,” said Mr Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF The Gambia Representative. “This initiative is an important step toward fulfilling our duty to ensure every child is in school and learning at the right level. Children have dreams to pursue and their futures to build, and quality education is a springboard to success.”
The Zero Out of School Children in The Gambia project, the latest to join EAA’s Zero OOSC: Educate Every Child initiative, will also ensure that adolescents who missed primary school have another opportunity to return to school through non-formal alternative learning pathways that lead to certification and transition to upper primary school.
The project will be implemented in close collaboration with communities and schools to ensure that every eligible child, no matter where they live in the country, can benefit from a quality primary education.
Mary Joy Pigozzi, PhD., Executive Director of EAA’s Educate A Child programme, said: ' Reaching Zero out of school children is essential because we have promised education for all for more than a decade and have not been able to deliver it at scale. If successful, this project will demonstrate that it is possible to find every child and make universal education a reality.
After achieving its goal of educating 10 million out of school children, EAA’s Educate A Child programme continues its commitment to OOSC by adding another strategy to find creative ways that enable every child to realize their right to quality primary education. Zero OOSC is working with the governments and other partners in countries with small numbers of remaining OOSC to ensure that no child is left behind when it comes to education.