President Adama Barrow has been conferred a honorary doctorate degree ‘Honoris Causa’ by Prof Cherno Omar Barry, the vice chancellor of the International Open University (IOU).
It should be recalled that at the ninth Convocation ceremony held on 28 February, His Excellency was conferred the award of a doctorate degree Honoris Causa by the International Open University in recognition of his distinguished services for the promotion of education, particularly to decentralising higher education and TVET. Unfortunately, he could not attend but was well represented by the Minister of Public Service, Honourable Babucarr Bouy.
The IOU recognises President Barrow’s policies that have resulted in tremendous strides in the education sector in The Gambia, from increasing access to secondary education to increasing the budget to accommodate marginalized students, particularly in rural Gambia.
President Barrow introduced various initiatives, including launching the National Islamic Education Strategy in July 2019. The strategy focuses on providing access to quality Quranic and Islamic education to all Gambians, regardless of their gender, social background or income level. The policies aim to improve the management of madrassas, build up the skills of teachers and administrators, and ensure that all madrassas have access to adequate resources, such as textbooks and other learning tools. President Barrow has also increased government funding for madrassas by allocating funds to help build new schools, pay teachers’ salaries, and give textbooks and other school supplies.
The International Open University is the first of its kind in The Gambia, as it is the only university that provides online education to Gambian citizens and residents around the country. In response to President Barrow’s vision for every Gambian eligible for university education, especially the underprivileged, being accorded the opportunity to access quality higher education, the Founder-Chancellor of the International Open University, Prof Dr Bilal Philips, recently offered 1,000 scholarships dedicated to His Excellency.
The Doctor of Philosophy Honoris Causa awarded by the IOU commemorates President Barrow’s commitment to education to herald a new wave of well-educated, highly skilled workers that will help usher in a new Gambia that is prosperous and progressive.
Following the brief robbing ceremony, Professor Barry emphasized the need to partner with Government to ensure every deserving Gambian gets a chance to post-secondary education in an affordable, accessible and flexible way. He is convinced that the role of the IOU is very significant in that regard.