(UNESCO / Japan Young Researchers' fellowships programme)

Connect School

Summary of research carried out: 
Connect School

The main thrust of the ConnectSchool research is to propose, taking into consideration necessary parameters, the deployment of affordable, available, efficient, effective and sustainable telecommunications and Internet infrastructure for the education sector in The Gambia by leveraging the ongoing implementation of the Africa-Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable project and the ECOWAN (national fibre optic cable) project, given Government’s growing commitment to allocating three STM-1s[1] for social services (e-government, education and health). These projects offer a host of connectivity options to the education sector for the deployment of needed telecommunications and Internet infrastructure. Consequently, there is a proposal to set up The Gambia National Research and Education Network (GAMREN), whose aims include supporting educational and research institutions at all levels and non-commercial institutions that support education and research. The Gambia’s education sector has long been disadvantaged by the lack of fast, affordable, efficient, effective and sustainable connectivity. It is envisaged that the implementation of GAMREN will pave the way for greater participation in global knowledge production by Gambian researchers, educationalists, teachers and students alike.

The proposed GAMREN is in line with the continental e-schools initiative of the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE) and the long term vision of The Gambia. The ARAPKE aims at building a region fully benefiting from ICT services by 2015 and the e-schools initiative aims to harness ICT to improve the quality of teaching and learning in African primary and secondary schools, whereby young Africans graduate from these schools with ICT skills and knowledge that will enable them to participate confidently and effectively in the global information society and knowledge economy. The Gambia’s long term vision aims to use ICT to substantially transform its underdeveloped, low-income, agriculture-based, technologically and industrially weak economy into an information-rich and knowledge-based economy and society in the emerging information and knowledge age. In addition, GAMREN is also in-line with the objectives of the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission for digital development.

As espoused in the NICI Policy and the current Education Policy (2004-2015), the Government of The Gambia has acknowledged the role that ICT can play in enhancing the quality and delivery of teaching, learning, research and administration of the education system.

The provision of education in The Gambia has been guided by international conventions and declarations and national policies, laws and development strategies. Education is a fundamental human right in The Gambia and the constitution commits Government to upholding the right of every Gambian national to education. Section 30 of the 1997 Constitution makes provision for the right to education for all: “All persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realisation of that right ...”. The country’s education sector has undergone major reforms over the years, aimed at improving access, quality and relevance at all levels.


15 May 2012

[1]              STM 1 (Synchronous Transport Module level-1) = 155 Mbit/s