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City of Banjul
Sunday, September 27, 2020

5 master’s degree candidates defend theses on African history

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After two years of intensive research, candidate Samba Bah presented and defended a comparative study of chieftaincy in colonial Gambia with a case study of Kombo from 1893-1964; Sana Saidykhan presented a study on chieftaincy in Foni from 1893 to 1923; Malang Fanneh wrote on  the life history of Musa Molloh and the colonial encounter and the consolidation of the state of Fulladu from 1870 to 1931;  Alhagie Y Babou, defended a  study of Islam in the Casamance from 1857 to 1919 while  Sait Matty Jaw presented a thesis on the PDOIS political outlook from 1986 to 1994 and approaches and challenges. 

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The candidates defended their theses before a panel of professors including Assan Sarr, Jean-Jacques Ngor Sene, Stephen Ney and Bala Saho. They were pressed to answer tough questions posed by the four-man panel on different topics relating to African history studies.

The acting dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, UTG Dr Pierre Gomez explained the motive behind the exercise: “This is part of the academic exercise. This is a normal procedure and it is the standard procedure anywhere in the world before a master’s degree is awarded to any candidate he or she will have to defend his or her thesis. Since these people are showing that they are professionals, we cannot grill them in isolation; it has to be public so that people can scrutinise them. They have to come forward to be scrutinised. The procedure is that the professors and supervisors will guide them, give them all the trainings that they need. From there it is given to an external examiner to also look at to ascertain that at the end of the day we are not making any mistakes and that whoever is given the document really deserves it. Not only that, they have to come forward and defend it. The other thing is to be able to defend what you have written. The panel will assess you and see whether they can pass you or not. If you are lucky to pass through you will get to be awarded later the master’s degree in history and African history in particular.”

Dr Gomez added that the government is committed to ensuring that the future leaders of this country are well-trained in order to shoulder national duties and responsibilities more effectively.

Lamin Tarro, the registrar of the University of The Gambia, said he was optimistic all the candidates have the global awareness of what has been published, written argued and revealed in the academic community. He lauded the candidates for their determination.

Meanwhile, candidate Samba Bah said of his chances of success: “I am very fine, very optimistic because I have been working for a year on this thesis. I have made a lot of research in archives, documents, interviews and different sources and I am presenting them to these people. I am optimistic as I should be. I know I am meeting professionals, real professionals who have been doing this for decades and in top universities around the world.”  

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