By Mahzouba Maya Faal
Information Officer, MoHERST.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), conducted a two-day Senior Management Team meeting (SMT) to discuss issues affecting the education sector. The meeting was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center, Kololi.
In attendance were the Honorable Ministers of MoHERST and MoBSE, Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, Directors of both Ministries, the Secretary General, National Commission for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO (NATCOM), among others.
The meeting, which was Chaired by the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Admin and Finance) of MoBSE, commenced with prayers followed by welcoming remarks from Permanent Secretaries of the sector.
The review of the previous joint SMT meeting conducted on the 26th of March, 2019 followed suit, with discussions revolving around the progress made with regards significant action points identified last year.
In his presentation, the Director of Higher and Tertiary Education at MoHERST expounded on significant updates concerning the UNESCO-KOICA Project. The goal of the project, he reminded, is to create an enabling environment that will give young people, especially girls, a better chance of finding decent employment by providing them with lifelong learning opportunities as enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and 8, through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Mr Mendy went on to share some of the activities MoHERST has been working on. They include: the transformation of Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) to a University of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, as part of the Ministry’s reform agenda. The University’s mandate, he informed, will encompass both the customary and degree awarding programmes. Furthermore, the University will be mentored by Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana and De Montfort University (DMU) in the United Kingdom.
Mr Mendy acknowledged some of the partners supporting GTTI in the transformation. They include UNESCO-KOICA, World Bank, KNUST, DMU, among others.
Director Mendy shared that the first batch of 51 students under the University of Science Engineering and Technology (USET) have been admitted to pursue Bachelor Programmes in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical/ Electronic Engineering.
According to the Honorable Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, standards in Higher Education in The Gambia will not be compromised, especially when it comes to entry requirements with Kwame Nkrumah University.
Hon. Minister went on to explain the rationale behind choosing to partner with the University of Demontfort in Lester, UK.
“We have another University different from Kwame Nkrumah which is responsible for accreditation and that is the University of Demonfort in Lester in UK. For four years running, they topped the chart in UK in terms of Applied Science Engineering and Technology. In terms of employment, they got 99.9%. That is how we were able to select them with the World Bank,” he said.
In conclusion, the Permanent Secretary of MoHERST, pledged the commitment of his Ministry with regards to supporting MoBSE in any additional efforts needed.
“We will be more than willing to be of assistance because the interest that we all work towards is the national interest; which is more important than individual ones,” he said, urging members to work diligently on important issues raised to ensure progress.
The joint Ministerial Senior Management meeting between MoHERST and MoBSE is held twice a year. The next SMT will be on September, 2021.