By Mahzouba Maya Faal
The National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA) a technical arm of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) on accreditation and quality assurance matters on Wednesday, 26th October, 2022 commenced the Regional Skills Competition in Basse, the Upper River Region in The Gambia.
The Regional Skills Competition is the Activity 7 Component of the UNESCO – KOICA Youth Empowerment through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Project.
The competition is based on five skills areas, namely;
1. Block laying
2. Electrical Installation
3. Floor and Wall Tiling
4. Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning; and
In his opening remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of NAQAA, Dr Gibril Jaw underscored the significance of the competition saying, it is in line with The Gambia government’s national development goal of improving the country’s skills-based resources. Dr Jaw further highlighted that possessing the right skills and attitude helps reduce poverty levels and makes the youth job creators and not job seekers. He also outlined that the regional skills competition will provide more visibility to skills education and training in The Gambia.
For her part, Ms Fatou Janneh, the Principal Tertiary and Higher Education Officer and the TVET Focal Person in the Directorate of Tertiary and Higher Education of MoHERST, reaffirmed the commitment of the government of the Gambia through the MoHERST to producing home-grown technicians that will take charge of the developmental imperatives of the country. She went on to state that the Ministry calls on all partners to invest towards the sustainability of the skills competition so that it becomes an annual event with the hope of further participating in World Skills Competitions.
In attendance was also the Deputy Governor of Upper River Region (URR), Mr Mamanding Ceesay, who spoke on behalf of the Governor. Mr Ceesay highlighted that the youth are the future of this country, and as such, they should be supported and guided to actualise their full potential. The Deputy Governor recommended more social policies, projects and programmes, like the skills competitions, to raise the level of expertise of our young people. He informed the gathering that the Office of the Governor in URR commends MoHERST through NAQAA for bringing this skills competition to URR. He reiterated that this maiden event will give the young people of his region the platform to showcase their talents.
In her speech, the Regional Education Director of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), Mrs Fatou Kinneh Sey, stated that the country needs engineers and technicians. Thus, she is optimistic that the regional skills competition will boost the morale of young people to venture into TVET careers.
After the opening ceremony, the first leg of the regional competition began for the 15 young people participating in Basse. Three competitors were represented from different TVET institutions and workshops for each of the five skill sets. Five winners emerged, one from each skill set. These are:
1. Block laying – Malick Jawo of Insight training, 29 years old – Lives in Sinchu Baliya
2. Electrical Installation – Abdoulie Njie, former GTTI, and InSight training Institute Student, 22 years old – Lives in Wellingara
3. Floor and Wall Tiling – Ebrima Fofana, GTTI, 26 years old – LRR Jara Sankule
4. Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning – Mamadou Salieu Jallow of GTTI – 25 years old – Lives in Basse
5. Tailoring – Fatou Nyassi – Bundung, studied at Sunrise Skill Centre, 27 years old
This round’s winners will participate in the national skills competition mid-November 2022.
They will later be invited to attend the National Awards Ceremony, where they will be provided with Prizes.
The next stop is Mansakonko, the Lower River Region of the country, for the second leg of the skills competition on Saturday, 29 October 2022.