The Gambia – MoBSE : Discussions are under way to include Islamic schools in the School Improvement Grant

Banjul – ( KNN ) : Basic and Secondary Education Minister Claudiana Cole said that Islamic schools and private schools are not part of the school improvement grant. She added that it is the only public schools benefiting from the grant.

However, she revealed that discussions are underway to include Islamic and private schools in the SIG program.

She made these remarks while responding to questions from National Assembly members last Wednesday.

She said the School Improvement Grant (SIG) is based on enrollment, adding that lower basic schools in unallocated areas receive 100 deliciaries (D100) per child per year and that schools in poor areas receive 150 deliciaries (D150) per child per year.

Minister Collie added that higher basic schools in non-poor areas receive D575 delsies for every child, while schools in specific poor areas receive D675 delses per child per year.

Ms. Cole also explained that the School Improvement Grant (SIG) allocations for every child per year in upper secondary schools that do not receive a government subsidy are D1,800 delsey and the upper secondary schools that receive government subsidies are D1,300 children per year. In addition, D2,000 delseys are awarded to each child to purchase textbooks for all students in grade 10. Islamic schools are not currently benefiting from the School Improvement Scholarship (SIG).

According to her, the budget of 90 million allocated to school feeding is very small in relation to the national demand, adding that government allocations are aimed at supporting government intervention in regions 2 and 4 only.

She noted that 186 schools, are currently benefiting from the program. It is important to note that all schools in Region 4 are covered and only schools in the upper parts of Region 2 can be covered from this allocation, and for this reason we requested an increase in the budget to enable us to cover all schools in these two regions.

Minister Collie added that the other four regions 1, 3, 5 and 6 are the areas of intervention of the World Food Program, noting that the program depends on donor funding. However, due to funding constraints at present, only 315 schools in the four regions were covered.

Sources: The Gambia Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.

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