In a bid to improve access to education, the Gambian government through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) has declared free education in all public schools from primary to secondary levels.

According to a MoBSE statement, “the removal of school levies is under the School Improvement Grant (SIG) funded by the government in a bid to provide education for all Gambian citizens,” Star Africa reported.

The statement reportedly indicated that the grant does not include books for the students and that parents are required to take charge of the stationery need of their children.

A primary school student decodes letters. The Gambia GPE/Dan Petrescu Photo: GlobalpartnershipA primary school student decodes letters. The Gambia GPE/Dan Petrescu Photo: Globalpartnership

Expensive school fees continue to be a stumbling block preventing students in many African countries from accessing education, and the development will undoubtedly ease pressure off parents who stubble to pay fees.

According to reports, provision of free education, “has been welcomed by many Gambian parents some of whom could not afford to pay for their children’s school fees”.

School fees remain prohibitively expensive for many families in various African countries. According to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), school fees are widely recognised as one of the strongest barriers to achieving universal primary education. According to the UN, “fees consume nearly a quarter of a poor family’s income in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Countries such as the Gambia have abolished school fees to address such problems. Recently, Kaduna State in Nigeria announced it was abolishing primary school fees.

Source: Star Africa