By Amadou M Jadama
Professor Muhammad Anjum Chaudhry, the Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia, has spoken about the problems the university has been facing in the past years.
Dr Fagir was speaking to members of the National Assembly select committee on education as they continue their tour of tertiary institutions.
“Despite the humble achievements this past year, we are still constrained by inadequate funding and learning infrastructure, inability of the many poor students to pay tuition, resulting in huge unrealized receivables; and non-competitive salaries and conditions of service which hinder our ability to attract the best and brightest in the country to academia and to attract foreign scholars.
“On the financial front, our financial position is still not strong enough. It is urgent and important we face up to the reality that quality higher education requires adequate funding, not only from Government, but also from the private sector, development partners and all other stakeholders in the country and abroad. I feel extremely positive about the year ahead,” he said.
On the administration of the University, “we can certainly do better and is urgent we put in place governance structures that follow the norm expected of world class universities to support the development of the University.
“We face many challenges such as inadequate learning infrastructure, inadequate subvention and student scholarship funds, and non-competitive salaries and conditions of service to attract highly qualified faculty and staff. We are working hard to renew, re-engineer and transform the University of The Gambia to meet the expectation of expanding access and strengthening quality. We are committed to deliver on our mandate.”
He further informed the NAMs that one hundred and ninety-eight (198) are full-time and one hundred and twenty-seven (127) are adjuncts or part-time lecturers.
“The UTG also has one hundred and eighty-three (183) administrative/professional staff. Two are part time. It is important to note that there is an aggressive effort by the UTG’s administration to encourage and hire top graduates as future academics and administrators.”
The Honourable Sedia Jatta member for Wuli West, reacted: “For the time being, until this university stands on its feet, you don’t need subvention. Subvention did not solve your problems. People who are going to the University are extremely poor and they cannot afford fees.
“We cannot rely on funding from outside; that has never developed any country anywhere. No external funding develops any country because you have to pay it with interest; that is the current problem of this country.
Papa Sanneh, principal assistant secretary, MOHERST, said: “For 2017 the Ministry of High Education budgeted 50 million dalasi for scholarships, and out of this, we are paying stipends for students who study outside, such as Morocco, India, Sudan, Cuba and other countries.”
The Honourable Yahya Gassama, NAM for Kiang East and chairperson of the select committee, the Honourable Bakary Njie, NAM for BundungKa Kunda, the Honourable Saikouba Jarju, NAM for Busumbala all thanked the staff of UTG and urged them to keep working hard.