By Sarjo M. Camara
His Excellency Vice President Badara A. Joof recently, May 20th received in audience officials from the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (Moherst) and the World Bank Task Team leaders.
The delegation was headed by the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) Prof. Pierre Gomez, who was accompanied by the World Bank Senior Education Specialist, Ekua Bentil and others.
The meeting centred on developments around the second phase of the new University of Applied Sciences, Engeenring and Technology (USET), and the proposed five skills centres in the regions, to enhance youth employability.
Speaking to journalists after their audience with VP Joof, Ms Ekau Bentil affirmed that they had delved into many issues including progress made in turning The Gambia Technical Training Institute into a University of Science, Engineering and Technology, “which would be a centre where a new breed of Gambian engineers could be trained”.
She went on: “The wider vision is that Gambia will have an institution that can train the next generation of scientists, engineers, technologists, ICT specialists and that’s where the world is going to. It is important to get youth excited about these fields; especially young women”.
She affirmed that their presence in the country was to ensure that the programme has quality and relevance.
The World Bank official commended the team on the ground. She recognised that they are working closely with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana to ensure that faculty members are coming in to train at the initial stage. “Gradually, the goal is that they will be based in The Gambia and will be able to teach these students”.
Madam Bentil assured that they will be encouraging the team to speed up things because the project will close at 2025.
“It will be important if Gambia can have these critical mass of students in these fields; it will make a big difference. They can support energy, agriculture and health,” she stated.