SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT ADAMA BARROW
ON THE OCCASION TO PROVIDE INFRASTRUCTURAL AND MATERIAL SUPPORT TO THREE KEY PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING IN THE GAMBIA
VENUE: THE UNIVERSITY OF THE GAMBIA BRIKAMA CAMPUS
20th OCTOBER 2018
Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service,
Members of the Governing Councils of the Gambia College and the University of The Gambia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am indeed deeply honored to be present with you this morning on this happy occasion, when we gather over a very important infrastructural development namely, the inauguration of a six Classroom Block fully furnished with a functional, well-equipped computer lab to support our institutions of higher learning. It is also a happy occasion because we are witnessing the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of eighteen new classrooms for The Gambia College.
At the outset, I would like to recognize with profound gratitude, the support of MRC-Holland, a philanthropic organization, that has worked collaboratively with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology to secure the necessary funding towards constructing, furnishing, and equipping these classroom blocks. It is very pleasing that, upon completion, these classrooms will provide additional learning space for students of both The Gambia College and the University, thereby lowering the student-classroom ratio.
Since taking up Office last year, my government has never stopped and will never stop to put a great premium on education, given the pivotal link between Education and the enhancement of the prospects of socio-economic growth and development for any country.
Evidently, graduates from our public tertiary and higher education institutions, are important agents of change as we see many who avail their services very competently holding diverse positions both within and outside the public sector. Therefore, my government will leave no stone unturned in its vision, drive, and commitment to support all our learning institutes, including those in the higher education or tertiary categories. Critical in this drive is the building of the capacity of these institutions so as to transform them into educational centers of excellence.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are all aware of the necessity to address the urgent need for more classroom space, well-equipped laboratories, adequate water supply and decent toilet facilities on the Brikama Campus.
My government, through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, has already begun providing solar-powered boreholes and refurbishing classrooms and offices in the School of Public Health complex. Although a daunting challenge, my Government is confident that through partnership with all, including good friends of The Gambia such as MRC-Holland, many of the challenges confronting the UTG, The Gambia College and the Management Development Institute will be significantly alleviated.
Already a wide range of other capacity development efforts has also been undertaken to increase educational opportunities for all Gambians especially those in the public tertiary and higher education institutions.
These include critical scholarships that are being granted to many students in these institutions. Currently, 3062 students are beneficiaries of our national scholarships, 2340 of whom are at the UTG and 722 in other Institutions. Additionally, 582 are current beneficiaries of our bilateral cooperation and international scholarships.
The goal of our education policies is to place emphasis on the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (otherwise called, STEM), in addition of course to Health and Agriculture. My Government will never relent to explore innovative means that will ensure that students who seek to pursue higher knowledge especially in STEM are able to do so under the best of conditions. We will develop new structures and equip these structures to desirable levels of standards and quality.
We will also expand scholarship programmes to be accessed by staff and faculty of the public institutions, to enhance their performance and output.
In view of all this, I would like to urge all actors and leaders within the education sector to be doubly resolved to our education policy priorities and to ensure that our strategies are implemented effectively and successfully. I assure you all of my government's support in this endeavour.
Distinguish Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of my government, I take the opportunity of this ceremony to present three buses to be distributed between the University of The Gambia and the Management Development Institute.
It is decided that the University takes two while the MDI takes one.
Hopefully, these buses will enhance student as well as staff mobility across campuses. As for The Gambia College, you will receive a fleet of five pick-up vehicles that will be handed over shortly.
The donation of the vehicles is to enhance efficiency and effective turnaround time of the teacher training programme as well as to ease up programme monitoring and supervision in all six regions of the country.
Additionally, my government will present three tractors to the UTG to support the Experimental Farm attached to the Faraba Banta Campus.
It is hoped that the tractors will boost research capacity of the UTG, especially as regards the realization of our National Development Plan and the food self-sufficiency targets of the Plan.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
In conclusion, I wish to extend sincere and profound appreciation and gratitude to Mrs. Henriëtte Brummer-Sonko of MRC-Holland and Mr. Saidykhan of The Gambia Procurement Services, the Contractor for the Classroom Block, for their respective collaborative support to the education sector. Your efforts have already registered a special place in our national history as true friends to my people and my country.
I wish to call on other like-minded peoples and groups to emulate the examples of Henriette Brummer-Sonko.
I would also like to extend thanks to the Honourable Minister and team as well as the authorities, staff, and students of the UTG, Gambia College, and MDI and all the operatives and stakeholders gathered here, who have contributed to the successes of government to assert excellence in tertiary and higher education in The Gambia.
With these remarks, I now wish to pronounce that the new six-classroom block is officially open.
I thank you all.