President Adama Barrow on Saturday expressed his government willingness to support the education system as he handed over keys for a 18-classroom block, a five-fleet vehicle, 3 tractors and 4 buses to top officials of the country’s institutions of higher learning. The beneficiaries are the University of The Gambia (UTG), Gambia College and the Kanifing-based Management Development Institute (MDI).
The ceremony was held at Gambia College in Brikama, some 22 km away from Banjul. The colourful event was graced by gov’t officials, major stakeholders and a big crowd with a lots of students cheering and excited to witness what many observers have described as a groundbreaking moment.
President Barrow said his administration is aware of the necessity to address the urgent need for more classroom, well equipped laboratories, adequate water supply and decent toilet facilities for Brikama campus.
A move, he said, will turn the learning institution into a “center of excellence” as it will have far-reaching consequences for students.
Already, he added his gov’t has provided solar-powered boreholes, and started refurbishing classrooms and offices in the School of Public Health.
“Although a daunting challenge, my gov’t is confident that through the partnership of all including good friends of The Gambia such as MRC Holland, many of the challenges confronting the UTG, Gambia College, and the Management Development Institute (MDI) will be significantly alleviated,” he remarked.
The Gambian leader emphasized in his speech what his government has now been doing in terms of granting scholarships to students, saying 3062 are beneficiaries of national scholarships. He then added that more than 500 students are awarded scholarship through bilateral and international programs.
For his part, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Badara Joof, thanked President Barrow for making a dream come true, describing him as a man who works silently but his results speak for him.
Minister Joof seized the opportunity to highlight the role played by President Barrow to linking them up with MRC Holland, a nonprofit organisation, which funded the construction of the 6 million dalasis classroom and other facilities.
Speaking earlier, Henriëtte Brummer Sonko of MRC Holland announced that her organisation is set to do more in complementing Gambia gov’t efforts in the area of education.
She announced that MRC Holland will sponsor 250 trainee teachers to enroll at Gambia College, provoking a wave of applause from the crowd that braved the sun to attend the ceremony.
She challenged Gambia College authorities to quicken the process so that these teachers can benefit from MRC Holland’s largesse.
She revealed that 800 classrooms has already been built across the tiny West African nation by MRC Holland.
While acknowledging that in certain regions such as the Greater Banjul Area there is a need for more teachers, she was quick to point out that in rural areas it is very difficult to find sufficient teachers in schools.
“Our next aim is to build a teachers training college in Basse,” she said.
Written by Abdoulie JOHN
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