The United Democratic Party commits to:
The improvements to be effected in the education sector will be framed within a bold and responsive reform agenda, which will be underpinned by a thorough situational analysis of shortcomings, weaknesses, opportunities and potentials within the grasp of the country.
At least one year of Early Childhood Education, 9 years of Basic Education and 3 years of Secondary Education will be compulsory for every child and free for all children in public schools. A UDP Government will embark on a massive consolidation of existing education infrastructure and an expansion and improvement of educational facilities for the realization of this policy goal. All education facilities will be developed to minimum internationally acceptable operational standards in a bid to making Gambian children as internationally competitive as possible. UDP believes that an education system cannot be better than its teachers. A UDP Government will prioritize teacher professional education welfare, and retention schemes in order to attract and retain the best teachers available. UDP will work with Teacher Unions, Subject Associations and education service providers to formulate decent welfare and benefits systems for all teachers. To this end teachers will be required to be accountable to their students
A comprehensive revamping of the national Basic and Secondary Education curricula will be undertaken. This will include, at the level of educational content and practice, the promotion of the use of local intellectual property, research and development of innovative pedagogic practices, the review of assessment and examination systems
Current literacy rates, especially for adults, will need to be significantly improved if the generality of the population is to functionally benefit from the advantages of common technological resources and tools, as well as the acquisition of critical life skills. Such improvements will also be expected to positively impact civic awareness. In the same vein, a UDP government will revitalize non-formal education by integrating it with maternal and child health services and community development interventions. Partnership with Civil Society Organizations and community-based organizations will be the delivery platform for this policy agenda.
From the COVID-19 pandemic, the UDP has learnt that there is no perfect replacement for face-to-face delivery of education and training. A UDP Government will meaningfully invest in alternative delivery modes of the curriculum at all levels of education and training. These will include radio, television, online and offline internet platforms. This will be accompanied with massive re-training and re-orientation of teachers and trainers to be proficient in the use of new technologies for teaching and learning. In doing this. the education system will be prioritized for strategic investments in learning materials and technologies in increasing the future competitiveness of Gambian children.
UDP is aware that the cost of education is a major barrier for many children, adolescents and youth. A UDP Government will commission a comprehensive study of barriers to education and training to look into what responsive policies and measures can be instituted, including needs-based and merit-based considerations, and the use of endowment funds, bursaries, scholarships and other sponsorship schemes. UDP as a Party is committed to creating equal educational opportunities for all children, adolescents, youths and adults. To this end, a UDP Government will ensure that all learning structures, facilities and teachers/lecturers are responsive to the learning needs and welfare of all learners especially those with special learning needs, those in need of assisted device, and those vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion. A UDP Government will use an affirmative policy in dealing with the school dropout relating to child marriage and early pregnancy.
UDP believes that middle-level human capacity in skill areas such as fabrication, construction, the arts, horticulture, fisheries, animal husbandry, to name a few, are key to creating employment and stimulating economic growth. A UDP Government will invest in coaching, mentoring, training and apprenticeship programmes to create second chance opportunities for adolescent and youth who are not able to access formal skills training.
A UDP Government will prioritise management efficiency and responsiveness in all sectors of the public service. To this end, a comprehensive review of the management of the education sector at national and regional levels will be conducted. The Regional Education Directorates will be strengthened and will have increased accountability for improving learning outcomes, responding to teacher welfare and providing accurate and timely data.
UDP believes that for The Gambia to build an education system that is relevant and responsive to the 21st Century agenda, Government should partner with the private sector, Civil Society Organizations and Faith-based Organizations. A UDP Government will partner with stakeholders based on their comparative advantage; and will create an enabling environment for non-state actors to meaningfully contribute to the national education development agenda. This will enhance delivery of cross-sectoral services such as school health, school meals and community engagement.
Fundamental to UDP’s commitment to deliver a transformative education program is to increase the national education budget allocation to 25 per cent, reduce all forms of inefficiency and wastage, and consistently apply value for money principles.
Provide Universal access to primary and secondary education
A comprehensive revamp of the basic education curriculum and review of skills development to ensure the system is fit for national purposes; raise teaching and learning standards in schools; learner centred and early childhood technology training.
A special focus on teacher education and the enhanced access and use of technology in our schools to improve on quality of education for all.
Establish strong coaching and mentorship programmes for the youth to benefit for solid guidance and knowledge building.
Entrepreneurial skills in classroom curricular for youth to be employment creators.
Establish endowment kitty including scholarships and bursaries to bright and needy students to ensure success for all our brightest minds.
Establish at least 10 specialized skills training centers across the country dedicated to the solid development of skills.
Review and improve the pay and working conditions of teachers to attract bright Gambians to the profession and to build the capacity of existing ones. (ask question about intent: Gambians or qualified personnel (case and point: Chancellor of UTG)?
Establish a school’s inspectorate system to monitor and evaluate educational quality
Improve and increase school infrastructure to reduce classroom sizes and improve quality of learning