The Gambia government Tuesday June 26, got the approval of the parliament to invest ten million US dollars into improving Arabic-styled education, locally called Madrassah in the country.
The funding is provided through a US$10M loan deal with the Islamic Development Bank, which the National Assembly unanimously ratified.
“The loan will help the education sector in meeting its objective of improving access, quality and relevance of Madarassah education,” said The Gambia’s finance minister, Abdou Kolley, who tabled the motion before deputies.
Two streams co-exist in the Gambian education system: the Western-styled carried over from the colonial era, and Arabic-styled/religious modeled after the Egyptian and Saudi.
The Gambia government has since initiated policies and programmes meant to mainstream Madrassah education, but challenges reportedly remain that Madrassahs are poorly funded, and its graduates lack equal chances to employment in the formal sector.
However, Finance Minister Kolley assured lawmakers that such challenges would be largely addressed with the approval of the loan deal.
“The project intends to recruit four hundred teachers to develop and strengthen Madarassa schools,” he said.
“It will also cover the construction of two hundreds and nineteen classrooms, provision of furniture and provision of teaching and learning materials, as well as training and curriculum development and strengthening of Madarassah education management.
If the project is fully executed it will not only deal with the growing problem especially with boys roaming the streets begging for food and money, but also reduce the number of unemployed youth who graduate with Quranic and Arabic Education.
Already, for the 10% of the school-aged population in the Madarassa, the curriculum is being synchronized with that of Western-styled schools and English language introduced.
Author: Ebrima Bah
Source: Daily News
Source: Daily News