The minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Fatou Lamin Faye on Tuesday launched the Result for Education Achievement and Development (READ) Project, at a meeting held at Region-4 Educational Directorates in Mansakonko in Jarra West District, Lower River Region (LRR).
In her statement, she described the launching ceremony as a landmark event in the educational sector, adding that the day shows the commitment of The Gambia government in providing quality education to every child, irrespective of anything.
According to her, this project will indeed contribute meaningfully to the entire educational sector medium-term plan, which requires the sum of 183.9 million US Dollars, with a funding gap of 56.1 million Dollars. She added that with a portfolio of 18.8 million US Dollars, the READ project would support interventions that are aimed at addressing issues of access to equity to education, as well as improving the quality of teaching and learning in their basic and secondary education within the framework of Education For All, on the one hand, and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment, on the other hand.
Minister Faye further stated that the READ project is aimed at "behavioural change in ensuring that the sector meets deliverables in a very kindly manner."
The minister of Basic and Secondary Education then thanked their partners, like the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, as well as the World Bank and the African Development Fund and the Global Partnership for Education Sector Plan.
While thanking the Local Education Group (LEG) for their visible and appreciable role during the process of endorsing the educational sector plan, she commended other stakeholders for their continuous participation to add value to the implementation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation projects and programmes, under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
Minister Faye further enjoined all and sundry to rally behind the implementation of READ project so that the desired result would be achieved.
For her part, Josafa Marrato, the UNICEF country representative and chair of the LEG, thanked the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education for the invitation extended to them to attend the launch, adding that this is the second time UNICEF is holding the LEG.
The chair of the LEG UNICEF representative went on to assure the Ministry that under UNICEF leadership they would continue to support the education sector to realise its objective, as stipulated in the education policy and strategic plan 2013 / 2022. According to her, the aim of the project is to increase access to early child development and basic education in remote areas, improve teaching and learning in Lower Basic Schools and to strengthen the education system. Marrato then assured the gathering that UNICEF will continue to pursue quality agenda, which creates an opportunity for all children, as described in the Convention for the Right of the Child. She added that the CRC would continue to guide their programmes, as well as serve as beacon for the children of the world as prescribed in the READ Project.
Victoria Ginja, the WFP representative in The Gambia, who is also the outgoing chair of LEG, in her statement, disclosed that over the last three-year WFP leadership to LEG were able to provide support in different ways of technical contribution to strategic planning development process, including appraisal and endorsement of the medium-term plan 2014 to 2017. She added that they were able to be vital in the provision of inputs on The Gambia's global partnership for education pledge, as well as participating in donor coordinating meeting. Ginja assured the Ministry of their continuous support and commitment in strengthening the education sector.
LRR governor Salifu Puye assured the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education of his office's continuous support to the overall educational policy, as well as the home growth school-feeding programme.
Other speakers included Nathalia Lahira, a senior education economics at World Bank and Alfusainey of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.