The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has said at least 265 teaching hours have been lost in the 87 days of coronavirus lockdown.

The ministry introduced lessons through radio and television stations days after the country registered its first case of coronavirus and declared a nationwide lockdown.

“In Gambia for example, it has directly affected about 674,300 children in conventional and recognised Madrassahs schools from Early Childhood Development to Senior Secondary School, and resulting to an estimated loss of 265 instructional hours during the last 87 days of school closure thus seriously threatening the achievement of the annual target of 880 hours of instruction,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

“However, you would recall that some two weeks ago, the Government of the Gambia decided to relax the State of Emergency restrictions to open and extend businesses operations, and reopening of schools.

“It was from that time, that my Ministry started consultations with the Ministry of Health, key Education partners such as: The Gambia Teachers’ Union, Conference of Principals, Association of Lower Basic School Heads (ALBASH), World Bank, UNICEF, UNESCO, NATCOM, Parents, and the Media fraternity to map the way forward in respect to safe reopening of schools.”

“This is in response to the concern of parents, students and even teachers as to when schools would be reopening as many instructional hours have been lost since the abrupt closure in March, 2020 and if nothing is done, more hours would continue to be lost,” the statement added.

The ministry has said Grade 9 students would go back to school on June 24 but urged other grades students to stay at home until further notice.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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