UDP STUDENTS’ WING WILL CONTINUE TO BE IN DEFIANCE WITH THE ILLOGICAL TRANSFORMATION OF GTTI BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE GAMBIA INTO A UNIVERSITY. WHO FEELS IT KNOWS IT
It can never be found in the curriculum of philosophy that an existing problem can be solved with a problem. What humanity and good conscience have taught us is that an embattling problem can only be solved with an informed solution that has exhausted merits and all avenues of consultation. Essentially, the Ministry of High Education, Research Science and Technology is supposed to be one of the most progressive ministries terms of policy agenda setting, policy implementation and evaluation on all issues facing the higher education system of our country but in reverse, this reality seems to be fallacious.
Cabinet approval in transforming Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) into a university at the recommendation made by the Ministry of Higher Education has crippled the confidence and conscience of every progressive thinker in this country especially those who are aware of the monumental problems facing the University of the Gambia. The current status quo of the UTG as the only state owned highest institution in terms of packages of problem is beyond emphasis and control. Thus, addressing these issues should be the direct focus of MOHERST because if an appropriate intervention that is zero politicized is not effected swiftly, then the cascading impact will be felt by all the institutions (Public and Private) in the Gambia because the productions of UTG (In this respect students) will at the end of the day occupy public institutions and this could lead to zero percent growth cognizance of the fact that their respective capacities have not been properly shaped at the time they are opportune to.
Hon. Minister, understanding your disconnection and lack of knowledge to the realities in the University of the Gambia, I would like to provide you with this rare opportunity to walk you through some decades long challenges we inherited from our brothers and sisters and anticipating to transfer the same adversaries to our younger ones if your ministry does not observe an immediate intervention . The university of the Gambia is facing with Infrastructural decay and deficit; This is a major problem we are challenged with, for the UTG lacks sufficient, well constructed, spacious and comfortable classrooms and auditoriums where students can learn conclusively and properly assimilate the knowledge transcended onto them by their hardworking lecturers. Classrooms in the University of the Gambia are as sizable as a latrine facility and students are well parked like sardines during lecture hours. Hon Minister, I definitely understood that you are well exposed to the world and I would have believed that you have never seen a university where a classroom is filled to capacity with students to an extent others have to stand outside the confines of the classroom and have lectures without seeing the lecturer. Sometimes seeing the students in a classroom having lectures with an immobile lecturer standing before them is like audience in a night club awaiting to witness a musical jamboree; this is pathetic for God sake. This happens only in the University of the Gambia; Is solving this problem not an immediate priority for your ministry and the government rather than compounding the problem by transforming GTTI into another university which would require the provision of both hardware and software educational provisions?. However, are not against the transformation of GTTI into a university but rather we are against the rationality and feasibility of doing so when already you have enough in your mouth to chew. Names does not matter, address the immediate problems at hand first without endangering the other, then we can think about shifting our attentions to the next agenda; that’s what we call sustainable development in development discourses. Come to think of it, most of the labs in some Senior Secondary Schools do not even have a functioning microscope and this is the very beginning students anticipating to do engineering and related fields of study must undergo through and get themselves used to the operational mechanisms of such equipment. I deeply understand that the above problem does not fall under the mandate of your ministry as we already have MOBSSE, but I just want you to understand the monumental of the problem your ministry is about to create.
Moreover, Mr Minister, the university of the Gambia as the highest learning institution in the Gambia is without a standard library where students can be able to make an academic expedition, explore great literature and ideas that they can utilize and benefit the society and the Gambia as a whole. Only in this part of West Africa not to talk of the world where you have a University without a well-equipped and furnished library where students can tap into, make researches and expand their understandings in their respective programs. In fact, some UTG Students in Brikama campus sometimes have to maneuver to the Gambia college library and do their assignments or find themselves an open space within the campus, have themselves gathered like flocks of birds drinking in a stream and do their assignments. This is absolutely ridiculous and outrageous to the core after paying D1000 as a development fees.
Hon. Minister, in respect to education, quantity doesn’t pay dividend but rather quality does especially in a developing country like ours. You would be surprised to again find out that the University of the Gambia has no viable and strong Internet connectivity that can be utilized by students within a blink of an eye, make online researches, access documentations and documentaries vital to their studies. The only available Internet services that could be accessed by students only have a strength of a snail in terms of speed and strength. How do you expect an excellent performance from students when the necessary means to be utilized for a better academic performance and outcome is unavailable? Additionally, most lecturers in the University of the Gambia are working under intense stress; imagine a lecturer handling 5-6 courses at the same time . This I want to believe, is the lack of human resources and human capacities choking the University of the Gambia at a point of malfunctioning and great annihilation. How can one lecturer teach over 150 Students for just a single course,in one classroom and the multiplicity of the above figure in reference to the courses he/she lectures would be like 750-900 students in just one semester. He has to give assessments and exams to all these students’, mark their scripts, enter their marks into the portals and expose them to extra-curricular activities (Researches, PRAs and so forth) if he has the time to do so. C’mon, these lecturers are not robocop machines, they are human beings like you and I. It is just because they are struggling to help their brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who have been denied by the government the necessary luxuries they are supposed to enjoy in the UTG even if they would have to compromise their last breath.
Better still Hon. Minister, Transportation at the University of the Gambia is another grandiose mayhem. Knowing the crystal fact that UTG faculties are so scattered in the country like Revenue collection branches, transportation still remains a huge challenge especially to our brothers and sisters who used to have lectures in Faraba. Understandably, there has been some sort of improvement in this issue but the wound is still not permanently healed as it is supposed to be because the people are still more than the capacities of the buses. Seeing our brothers and sisters struggling to get a seat in the buses is appalling and sympathetic. The struggle has always been like groups of migrants awaiting to cross the Sahara desert for the Mediterranean Sea. Address these challenges so that the University of the Gambia will be fit to call a university rather than a high school as it is sometimes called by some outsiders as a way of taunting the students of UTG. Today, even SBEC International School is more equipped and well advanced than the UTG. These problems I have just mentioned are just a tip of and ice berg and I believe relevant bodies in the University would add their voices onto us to amplify ours in this revolution. We will talk about this issue persistently if the authorities in the University of the Gambia continue to preserve a solemn silence over this infamous idea.
Who feels it knows it!!!
Hon. Minister, suppression of hunger leads to death and the alcohol that is insufficient for a whole town ought not to intoxicate one man. You cannot be excluded in this rough-hewn policy that has been made by the professional department of your ministry and have it executed by yourself at the level of cabinet. This policy of turning GTTI into a University to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is not only illogical but it is a wrong diagnosis of the realities in our higher educational system that has not been thoroughly looked into and dealt with soundly in a manner that will not be conflicting with common sense. Your wrong diagnosis is of no difference with fake physicians who wrongly make prescriptions to patients and thus endangering their lives. I believe the presidency has been misled enough but this other one should be taken off the chessboard for the collective good of the Gambia and her people. All atrocities starts by leaders failing to differentiate scientific evidence with imaginations. On behalf of the UDP Students’ Wing and as concerned students of the University of the Gambia, we believe you would once again re-engage the cabinet and reconsider the direction you are about to take, for this move is not to the best interest of our educational system.
HON. MINISTER,IT IS
ONLY ONE WHO FEELS IT, KNOWS IT!!!
UDP Students Wing