UNICEF has assured the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education of its continued support as the ministry moves ahead with plans to safely reopen schools after more than six months of physical closure for most classes, a statement from the Banjul office released Monday stated.
The commitment was made during a meeting between Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF Representative in The Gambia, and Claudiana Cole, Minister of Basic and Secondary Education last week.
“Rest assured that as The Gambia prepares to safely reopen schools, UNICEF and the rest of the United Nations system in the country, will provide strong support to ensure that students and staff are safe in school,” said Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF The Gambia Representative. “We have already redirected important resources to support The Gambia’s COVID-19 response and this includes the safe reopening of schools.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in The Gambia, UNICEF says it has reprogrammed more than US$4 million of the agency’s regular and emergency budgets to support the country’s response to the pandemic and ensure continuity of services across a range of sectors, including keeping children learning through distance learning programmes and provision of hand washing stations. The Agency also said it September, it made an additional commitment of more than US$1 million to consolidate the agency’s COVID-19 support. Of the total reprogrammed amount, approximately US$850,000 have been destined to the education sector.
UNICEF’S continuous support is stemmed from their commitment to ensuring children’s education and safety.