Report submitted by Gambia

The report of The Gambia mentions the creation of a National Council for Civic Education (p. 12) 

42. Civic Education in The Gambia is a process through which the citizenry acquires knowledge, skills and values that are needed for effective democratic citizenship. It was against this background and the need to promote the civic consciousness of the citizens that the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) was created under section 198 of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, 1997 as an independent and non-partisan institution. Section 199(1) of the said Constitution outlined the mandate of NCCE as follows:


a) To create and sustain within society an awareness of the principles and objectives of this Constitution as the fundamental law of The Gambia;

b) To educate and encourage the public to defend this Constitution against all forms of abuse and violence;

c) To formulate, from time to time, for the consideration of the Government
programmes at national and district levels aimed at realising the objects of this Constitution;

d) To formulate, implement and oversee programmes aimed at inculcating in the citizens of The Gambia awareness of their civic and fundamental rights, duties and responsibilities;

e) To educate the citizens of The Gambia about international, regional and subregional matters relevant to The Gambia.


43. The independence of the NCCE has been protected in the Constitution. It states under section 199(3); ‘in the exercise of its functions, the Council shall be apolitical and, save as may be provided by an Act of the National Assembly, shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.'


59. The NCCE conducts routine community meetings in towns and villages to educate the public on their constitutional rights, duties and responsibilities. It also conducts regular live radio and television programs on topical issues relevant to good governance. It
conducts voter education anytime elections are approaching to enable voters to make informed choices. It recently completed a one year pilot of the teaching of civic and human rights education in Gambian schools.  

The right to education is stated and dealt with in several paragraphs (73, p. 17, 76 and 79, p.18)

76. With respect to education of children, Government has taken steps to ensure that all schools are accessible to learners within a radius of three kilometres.

79. Girls’ education in The Gambia is also given attention through such interventions as the establishment of the renowned Girls’ Scholarship Trust Fund to defray the cost of education for the girls and ensuring a safe environment for them in all schools. The President’s Empowerment of Girls’ Education Project (PEGEP), which provides financial support for girls at the upper basic and senior secondary levels, complements Government sponsorship of needy students. An important outcome of these interventions is that gender parity has now been attained at the basic level and enrolment for girls has soared at both the senior secondary and higher levels. This marks a reversal of previous trends.

See also pp. 18 and 19.

I. Right to education

80. The provision of education in The Gambia is anchored to a number of national and international constitutional and legal frameworks, such as the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia, the National Vision 2020, the National Education Policy 2000-2015, the Educational for All Goals, the Millennium Development Goals and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) II. Therefore, in accordance with the Constitution, which states that basic education shall be free and compulsory, the government of the Gambia seeks to attain universal basic education by 2015. In this direction, the expanded vision of basic education – encompassing early childhood development, lower basic education, upper basic education and non-formal education – forms the basis of education service delivery in the country.

81. Based on evaluations of various interventions, there is evidence indicating that significant successes have been registered within the education sector over the past fifteen years, thus demonstrating the positive impact that the educational reform in the country has
precipitated. These include tremendous expanded access to education across all levels of the school system. The University of The Gambia (UTG), the only university on the country, has maintained also the policy of non-discrimination for access to university education and most of its students are sponsored by the Government.

82. The expanded vision of basic education (comprising early childhood education, adult and non-formal education and nine years of continuous formal schooling - i.e., from Grades 1 to 9) stands out as a successful model in Africa. The partnership and link between the conventional schools and the madrassa institutions, through the General Secretariat for Islamic/Arabic Education, continues to enhance access and, simultaneously, improvement of the quality of education provided in the school system. The teaching of English language in the grant-aided madrassas and the harmonization of the various syllabuses of the madrassas and their synchronization with the curriculum of the conventional schools have contributed to this success.

83. There is a more equitable distribution of qualified teachers, as shown by the impact reports from the Regional Directorates on the ‘hardship allowances’ currently paid to teachers. The textbook rental scheme has been abolished, and the student-textbook ratio is 1:1 for the core subjects at the lower basic level; that is, from Grades 1 to 6.

G. The right to education (p.21)

95. In spite of the achievements made over the years, critical challenges still remain within the education sector. These embody matters of access, quality, resources and management. Prominent among these the issues are:

• The disparity between boys and girls in enrolment, retention and performance;

• Providing quality education for all;

• Training and retaining qualified teachers and staffing all schools with qualified teachers;

• Mobilising sufficient resources for both recurrent and development purposes;

• Curriculum gaps and shortcomings have been identified and need to be addressed;

• Results of a recent Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and the National Assessment Test (NAT) conducted in 2008 and 2009 suggest that the number of children at the lower basic level who able to read and acquiring cognitive skills is low;

• The school age population is growing at a rapid rate in the country, and the demand for school places is greatest in urban and peri-urban areas. Therefore, additional places at both the lower and upper basic levels will have to be created at an accelerated pace;

• Crucially, in The Gambia, secondary education continues to be a challenge, as most of the schools at this level are privately operated, thus rendering access difficult for children from poor families, particularly in the peri-urban areas.

E. Education (p.23)

107. The priority areas for the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) as outlined in the Medium Term Plan (2009-2011), which is derived from the Education Sector Strategic Plan, are basically three: Equitable Access, Quality Education and Sector Management. Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Tertiary and Higher Education and Science and Technology are the priority areas for the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Science and Technology.

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