Tabling the bill, Dr Abubacarr Senghore, the minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, said the bill would enhance the standards for the establishment, registration and accreditation of tertiary institutions in the country. It will also ensure that higher and quality output expected of institutions is not compromised, he added.
He told lawmakers: “NAQAA must make sure, before giving its stamp of accreditation of any certificate or degree, the standards and criteria included in this bill are fulfilled, in order to make sure that the rapid increase of tertiary education institutions does not compromise quality and relevance. NAQAA is timely and important.
“These provisions are quite important, particularly in this crucial period when not only do we have a national university but due to the peaceful nature of The Gambia and the priority the country has given to higher education, many partners have come into the country and established tertiary institutions. Therefore, it is high time for us to come up and regulate the environment and to make sure that any certificate which emanates out of this country is equally respected and given its due across the globe.”
Under the new bill, the new regulatory authority, which will replace the National Training Authority, is mandated to issue and revoke licences to awarding bodies of approved professions and providers of skills in particular fields, while overseeing the quality assurance.
Closure and sanctions of institutions are also elaborated in the document. It is recommended that closure of institutions can be recommended to the minister under a number of conditions which includes the location and operation of institutions being detrimental to the physical and mental well-being of students attending such institutions, a standard of operations of the institution is below the acceptable minimum, the existence of the institution going against public interest; and any institution found wanting shall be notified to redress those problems within the specified period at the end of which if the institution concerned is still found wanting closed by the ministry.”
Mr Matarr Kujabie, the National Assembly Member for Foni Bondali, who seconded the motion, said “The Gambia has seen the establishment of so many tertiary institutions and it is important we have proper checks to ensuring that the institutions deliver relevant and quality services to the people.”
Also speaking on the relevance of the new regulatory framework, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Fatou Mbye, described the bill as timely in that it will address the challenges posed to the National Training Authority (NTA) in the execution of its duty as the overseeing body of higher education institutions in the country.
“Post-secondary education is very crucial to a nation’s development and the quality of life of its people can be assessed by the successes registered in this area,” she stressed. “Developing post-secondary education of a country boosts and strengthens the human resource base. Thus, it is important that the performances of these institutions are coordinated and regulated effectively.”]]>