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Educational System in Gambia

The one tip that you hear expats living in Gambia repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Gambia. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Gambia is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Gambia.
|-Educational System in Gambia

The educational system in Gambia is a blend of the traditional British system and the country’s own unique cultural and societal influences. Education is highly valued in Gambia, with the government investing significantly in the sector to ensure that all children have access to quality education. The system is structured in stages, each with its own focus and objectives. This guide provides an overview of the Gambian educational system, including the main stages, enrollment procedures for newcomers, language requirements, public and private schooling options, and homeschooling and online schooling possibilities.

What are the main stages of education in Gambia?

The Gambian educational system is divided into four main stages: Early Childhood Education, Basic Education, Secondary Education, and Tertiary Education. Each stage is designed to cater to the developmental needs of children at different ages, with a focus on holistic development and the acquisition of essential skills and knowledge.

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education in Gambia caters to children aged 3 to 7 years. This stage focuses on the child’s cognitive, emotional, and physical development. It provides a foundation for literacy, numeracy, and basic life skills. The curriculum is designed to be interactive and child-centered, promoting creativity and critical thinking.

Basic Education

Basic Education in Gambia is for children aged 7 to 16 years. It is divided into lower basic (primary) and upper basic (junior secondary) levels. The curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including English, Mathematics, Science, Social and Environmental Studies, and local languages. The aim is to provide a solid foundation for further education and personal development.

Secondary Education

Secondary Education in Gambia is for students aged 16 to 19 years. It prepares students for tertiary education and the world of work. The curriculum includes core subjects like English, Mathematics, and Science, as well as elective subjects based on the student’s interests and career aspirations.

Tertiary Education

Tertiary Education in Gambia includes universities, polytechnics, and vocational training institutions. It offers a wide range of programs and courses to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed for their chosen careers.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

Newcomers can enroll their children in Gambian schools by first obtaining a school admission form from the desired school. The form should be filled out and submitted along with the child’s birth certificate or passport, previous school records, and a medical report. Some schools may also require an admission test or interview.

My children are still learning English, can they enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning English can enroll in public schools in Gambia. English is the medium of instruction in Gambian schools, but support is provided for non-native speakers. There are also language classes available to help students improve their English proficiency.

Are there public bilingual schools?

There are a few public bilingual schools in Gambia that offer instruction in both English and a local language, usually Mandinka, Wolof, or Fula. Admission to these schools is based on availability of space and the child’s proficiency in the languages.

What types of private schools are common in Gambia?

Private schools in Gambia include international schools, religious schools (mostly Islamic and Christian), and Montessori schools. International schools often follow the British or American curriculum, while religious schools incorporate religious teachings into the curriculum. Montessori schools follow the Montessori method, which emphasizes child-centered learning and development.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Expats in Gambia typically send their children to private schools, particularly international schools, due to the familiarity of the curriculum and the availability of additional support for non-native English speakers. However, some expats choose public schools to immerse their children in the local culture and language.

How expensive are Private schools in Gambia?

The cost of private schools in Gambia varies widely, depending on the type of school and the services provided. International schools tend to be the most expensive, with fees ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per year. Other private schools charge lower fees, typically between $200 and $1,000 per year.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Gambia?

Yes, homeschooling is allowed in Gambia. However, it is not very common and there are no specific regulations or guidelines for homeschooling. Parents who choose to homeschool their children are responsible for providing a suitable curriculum and ensuring that their children meet the educational standards.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Gambia?

Yes, children can attend online school while living in Gambia. This can be a good option for families who are only in the country for a short period, or for those who prefer a more flexible learning environment. However, it’s important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the educational standards of the child’s home country.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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