Synergy study between technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), literacy and non-formal education and information and communication technology was last Tuesday validated at the National Nutrition Agency (NaNa) conference hall in Bakau. UNESCO funded the validation.
Deputy permanent secretary at the ministry of basic and secondary education Adama Jimba Jobe said the growing number of young people without special skills and access to work and employment is vulnerable to any form of radicalization.
He said young people under 24 years represents 64% of Gambia's population and bears a disproportionate share of unemployment (70%) due to their lack of skills or a mismatch between skills they possess and those required by the labour market.
Mr. Jobe said as a result of this, young people are seeking alternative livelihoods, posing threat to potential radicalization and promoting irregular migration. "Most school leavers are driven out by the rigidity of the environment and the lack of economic opportunities," he emphasized.
He further stated that challenges such as unemployment, illegal migration, quality of teacher training, critical shortage of technical teachers, the lack of material and financial resources and the lack of a link between TVET training and labour market need technological changes.
"I am happy to say that The Gambia education policy 2016-2020 has made a policy pronouncement on Non-Formal Education (NFE). The program is relevant and comprehensive which will be executed including distance education using modern technological media focused on literacy, numeracy as well as life and livelihood skills."
He also revealed that the policy laid emphasis on the learner's interest, which will be sustained through the integration of income generation and innovation programmers such as ICT, introduction of the standardized Quranic scripts in literacy as an option and the creation of a literate environment for the neo-literates.
He pointed out that the Ministry responsible for ICTs has taken significant strides in creating the conducive environment for sector player to operate and with communication infrastructure policy, plans and strategies. "Also, it encompasses plans of action such as the e-government and other e-strategy."
He noted that there would be increased private participation in the provision and financing of training and skills development especially of the rural youth. "At the dawn of the 21st century, in a world where knowledge truly is power and literacy is the skill that unlocks the gates of opportunity and success, we all have a responsibility as educators and citizens to instill in our society and children to give them the chance to fulfill their dreams," PS Jobe stated.
Secretary General of NATCOM, Ousman Senghore said the study of synergy between TVET, literacy and non-formal education and information and communication technologies in The Gambia is a deliberate attempt to explore alternative means to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all).
He said the objective is to promote and implement strategies at all levels (strategic, technical and operational) and to include all stakeholders in a participatory and inclusive approach.
He said the validated document is the result of an extensive consultation of all relevant stakeholders in The Gambia with the view to promoting an education and technical training system linked to inform, and communication technologies in phases with the requirements of economic and social development; equitable, effective, efficient, implementing synergy between three sub-sectors, and based on participatory and inclusive governance integrating all stakeholders.