Through the leadership of the Chairman of the Gambia College Governing Council Dr. Alieu Badara Senghore, together with the Principal Aboubacarr Jallow, a delegation from the college on Wednesday 19th April 2023 paid a courtesy call to the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia Muhammad B.S. Jallow. The delegation also included the Vice Principal Madam Isatou Ndow, the Registrar, Head of Quality Assurance, Heads of the four schools and Director of Finance.
The purpose of the courtesy call is firstly to extend the Gambia College’s compliments and good wishes for his appointment as Vice President of The Gambia. Secondly, to present to the VP the current situation of the college in light of its strengths and opportunities as well as challenges as it began transition to a teacher education University.
Leading the discursion, the Chairman of Council informed the VP that the process has already started for the transformation of the Gambia College to a degree awarding Teacher Education University, to which a task force has already been established to design the roadmap. This, he believed will go a long way in enhancing the quality of teacher training in the Gambia.
The Chairman further informed the Vice President that the college is definitely struggling in its service delivery as the demand for enrolment is getting higher and higher each year despite the institution being tuition payment. The college struggles a lot to ensure its service delivery is not interrupted amidst financial challenges. The VP is informed that the college is being owed over fifty Million Dalasis (D50M) by some stakeholders which is really affecting the institution particularly as it decentralises its services through different campuses.
The chairman also emphasised the challenges in terms of mobility particularly during monitoring of students in the field for practical, the college is also lacking a good functioning bus for large group travels of both students and staff. The issue of accommodation for students within the campuses was also raised as the current situation of the Brikama Campus is not really decent for students.
Adding on the Chairman’s presentation, the Principal also buttressed on the importance of capacity building as the transformation process gets on. In order for the college to meet the needed capacity for operating an effective university, there is need to build the capacities of the current staff. The Principal informed the VP that a number of academic staff are currently receiving advanced studies from Masters to Phd. While some are in China and India, others are pursuing other advance courses at the University of The Gambia with tuition waiver. “We hope through your noble office; the government could consider Gambia College for more scholarships on building staff capacity”.
On his part the Vice President expressed delight for receiving a delegation from the Gambia College which he described as happening at the right time. Being a former student of the Gambia College and serving the education sector for all his carrier, he assured that issues of the Gambia College as well as other educational institutions will be treated diligently. The VP assured the college admin that he will use available opportunities to lobby for productive partnerships and support from some other institutions. Being concerned about the huge amount of debt the college is being owed, he express concerns that that is capable of impacting the service delivery a lot. He therefore, emphasise that it is very necessary for quick actions to be taken to look in to the issue of proper financing of not only the college but other educational institutions as well. His permanent Secretary will be tasked to work with other Permanent Secretaries to map out the strategies for proper financing that is sustainable.
The VP also raised concerned about the welfare of the students having already met the Students Union earlier. Regarding the accommodation, he encouraged the college to quickly work on the dormitories in the Brikama Campus to make it descent for students’ habitation. To another concern of students regarding employment, the VP assured that the government has a responsibility to train and that is why scholarships are provided, but the government might not be able to employ all. The private sector is supposed to be the biggest job creators in that aspect.
The VP assured the college delegation that concerns raised are all very well noted and he shall take some of them up with the relevant ministries for action.