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Friday, December 1, 2023

Absence of deputy VC-academic paralysing academic governance in UTG

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By Tabora Bojang

It is nearly two years since the position of the deputy vice-chancellor (DVC) for academic affairs was vacant and this has paralysed academic governance at the university of the Gambia, Dr Alieu Gibba, senior lecturer at the School of Business and Public Administration said in a write-up shared with The Standard.

The position of vice chancellor – academic has been vacant since the appointment of Professor Pierre Gomez as minister of higher education early 2022.

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Dr Gibba who served as president of the University Faculty and Staff Association, said the position was advertised and attracted Gambian professors to submit their dossiers for consideration but he alleged the vice-chancellor and the governing council are “foot dragging” the process. 

“Section 4.3.5 of the University of The Gambia Conditions of Service states, that the posts of vice-chancellor and deputy vice-chancellor, shall be advertised locally and if need be, internationally, one year before expiration of tenure of office of the incumbents. After the closing date, the university registrar shall on the advice of the vice-chancellor, prepare a short-list of applicants qualified in terms of the advertisement. The vice-chancellor shall act in liaison with the chairperson of council. The vice-chancellor and the deputy vice-chancellor shall be appointed by council in the prescribed manner after the candidates have been properly screened. The absence of the deputy vice chancellor for academic affairs who is responsible for all academic matters such as: academic administration, curriculum development, examinations, admissions and other senate matters, has paralysed academic governance at the university,” Dr Gibba claimed.

He urged the vice chancellor and governing council to immediately work on addressing these issues as the academic year begins.

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“They should invite the shortlisted applicants for an interview or re-advertise the position for immediate appointment, since the university cannot effectively operate without a substantive DVC for academic affairs.”

The Standard contacted the Vice Chancellor Professor Herbert Robinson but he would not respond to our queries. When contacted, the chairman of the UTG Governing Council, Mathew Ndure said the process of appointing a deputy vice chancellor – academic now (teaching and learning) is ongoing.

He said the committee tasked with identifying and shortlisting candidates has already submitted it’s report to the governing council which will review and invite applicants for interviews.

Asked if the process would be completed before the end of the current semester, Mr Ndure replied that he could not give a timeline but expressed his optimism that it will be completed in the soonest possible time.

When contacted the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Professor Pierre Gomez said: “My focus is Faraba. For other issues, contact UTG Management.

15 buses secured to ease transportation to Faraba campus

Meanwhile the Ministry announced it has signed a contract with the GTSC for allocation of 15 fully air conditioned buses to ease the transportation of students to and from the University’s Faraba Campus.

Under this service, it will cost students 40 percent of the transportation fee, which is equivalent to D20  while the government will cover 60 percent of the transport cost.

“The movement to Faraba is in alignment with the Government’s agenda of providing quality education in a conducive learning environment that promotes research and innovative technological advancement for sustained socio-economic development” the Ministry said.

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