By Cherno Omar Bobb
The chairman of the board of directors for Education For All Campaign Network – The Gambia (EFANet), Bakary Badjie has called on the government of the Gambia and the local government authorities (LGAs) to increase state funding for education to at least 20% of public expenditure.
Speaking during the recent commemoration of the Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) by Education for all Campaign Network – The Gambia (EFANet) held in Basse, Upper River Region, Badjie demanded action in line with the ‘One Billion Voices’ campaign, among other things, to ensure inclusive education systems through equitable financing and programmes that prioritize the most marginalized; and provide free quality education for all and end the trend towards the privatization and commercialization of education.
He therefore stated that national budgeting for education requires increasing the share of budgets for education; increasing the size of budget overall; increasing the sensitivity of budgets in order to respond to the most marginalized and; increasing the security of budgets so that governments are accountable to the people. He highlighted that the realization of human rights to education requires multiple efforts from all sectors of society, adding that it is dependent on the compliance with specific obligations of governments and the international community.
Badjie further said that education financing must be motivated by the construction of education systems that promote and realize human rights as a way of life as the content of education, its government and administration, and the challenges of teaching and learning are part of the enabling of human rights.
In 2015, the UNESCO member states committed to provide free equitable primary and secondary education and to ensure that all children have access to quality early childhood education and affordable quality technical, vocational and higher education. In view of that, the Government of the Gambia also committed to increase the number of qualified teachers to ensure that educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficiently and effectively governed systems.
The theme for this year’s GAWE is ‘Education Financing’ with emphasis on Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), which is quality education.
The theme aims to mobilize ‘more and better public financing for education’ in which civil society organisations in different regions demand concrete actions to achieve the necessary goals to guarantee the funds that public education systems need; including the progressive increase of the national budgeting for early childhood education, basic education, education for youth and adults and tertiary education.