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GAMBIA: SCHOOL CHILDREN DROP OUTS INCREASES AMID COVID-19 SAYS FIRST LADY

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The First Lady of The Gambia has revealed that Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in the number of dropouts amongst school going-children in The Gambia.

Madam Fatoumatta Bah Barrow was speaking on Friday at the launch of the Zero Out-of-School Children project held at OIC Conference Center in Bijilo.

She noted that like many least developed countries, The Gambia faces many challenges in the area of education.

“About 20% of primary school children and 53.6 % of lower secondary are in fact more than the right age of their class level by two years or more. Over-age affects the organisation of teaching and learning leading to dropouts and eventually surges the number of out-of-school children.”she added.

“Another significant challenge in the education system is the low level of foundational numeracy and literacy of children, which has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic that led to school closures and loss of valuable contact time,” she stated, adding that the resultant learning crisis caused by the pandemic became “a major drive in the increased number of out-of-school children.”

She expressed optimism that with the support partners such as Education Above All, through their ‘Educate a Child’ project, the country is in a better position to achieve not only challenges related to fundamental numeracy and literacy but also ensure that no child is left behind as far as access to school and learning opportunities are concerned.

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