Education in Gambia: A brief review 

Education is the cornerstone of societal progress and individual empowerment, and in The Gambia, efforts to expand educational opportunities and enhance literacy rates are shaping the future of the nation. In recent years, strides have been made in addressing the challenges that hinder access to quality education, yet there remains much work to be done. 

In Gambia, access to education is a constitutional right, but disparities persist, particularly in rural and marginalised communities. Limited infrastructure, inadequate resources, and socio-economic barriers hinder educational attainment for many children. Despite progress in bridging the urban-rural divide and promoting gender equality in education, equitable access remains an ongoing challenge as various factors like disability, access issues, family preferences, and social norms, contribute to children being excluded from formal education.   

Quality education goes beyond access—it encompasses dynamic learning environments, well-trained educators, and engaging curriculum. Low academic performance is a widespread issue, necessitating strategic partnerships to create an enabling environment for every child to access education. Current efforts to improve the quality of education in The Gambia include teacher training programs, curriculum reforms, and investments in educational resources. The Gambia-Link project also stands as an opportunity to enhance educational provision. Through partnerships with international organisations and academic institutions, such as universities in the UK and beyond, Gambian institutes aim to facilitate knowledge exchange, training programs, and capacity-building initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of education.

Literacy and numeracy are foundational skills essential for academic achievement and personal development. In The Gambia, initiatives to promote literacy, particularly among early learners, are gaining momentum. Community-based reading programs, mobile libraries, and literacy campaigns are nurturing a culture of reading and numeracy proficiency from an early age. By investing in early childhood education and literacy initiatives, The Gambia is equipping its citizens with the tools they need to participate fully in society and contribute to national development.

Moreover, data-driven decision-making is crucial for shaping education policies and programs in The Gambia. Education management information systems (EMIS) play a central role in collecting, analysing, and disseminating data on various aspects of the education system. By leveraging data to track progress, identify areas for improvement, and allocate resources effectively, stakeholders can make informed decisions that positively impact educational outcomes. Recent data on remote learning tools usage provides valuable insights into the evolving educational landscape amidst challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, informing strategies to enhance access to education through digital platforms. In this way, the sector aims to bridge the educational gap between urban and rural areas and lay the foundation for an inclusive educational system. 

Maira Xiromeriti and Adam Capdevila

Educations team 2024-The Gambia link