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City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

University Freshman Orientation Day 2014

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You are the class that is coming when much-needed expansion and upgrade of our Faculty of Law is on track for occupancy in few weeks. This ultra-modern 3-floor facility will strengthen our efforts in improving the learning infrastructure and opportunity for our Law Students. This facility will be the home of our planned new Masters of Law (LLM) we are expecting to launch soon in collaboration with world-renowned partner universities. 

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We would like to share some good news with the incoming Faculty of Law students. Our Faculty of Law students just returned from South Africa where they competed with teams from top African University Law Faculties in the Moot Court Competition hosted by the University of Pretoria. They continue to perform superbly! We are very proud of them and again, this attests to the quality education they are receiving at our Faculty of Law. 

You will have an opportunity to earn your place in our mooting team, which we continue to support with opportunities to travel the world to compete with law students from world-class universities. Our mooting team continues to excel and rank respectably amongst Law students from world-class universities. Our Faculty of Law has evolved to be amongst the best faculties of law in the sub-region and contributing to the much-needed human capacity for our judiciary.  Our graduates continue to perform brilliantly at the Law Schools Bar exams and as magistrates across the country! Some of our FLAW graduates continue to be admitted at top University’s to pursue their LLM or postgraduate degrees and some have completed amongst the top of their graduating class and have return to join our faculty of Laws as instructors. We welcome you to our Faculty of Law! 

Our Debating Society continues to be a vibrant society/students club on campus. I will encourage you to join and be active on campus activities. Recently, one of our students Mr Jibril Bangura competed in the GIABA University debating competition hosted at the University of Ghana, Legon and came out 2nd!  

Many opportunities to develop yourselves outside of the UTG and have experiences beyond our campus at our partner institutions! Currently, we have some of our high students spending a year at partner universities in the USA, specifically at St Mary’s College of Maryland, Sweden, UK, etc…they continue to excel. You’ve heard the Dean of SAS convey some of the successes. Our medical students have opportunities to spend few weeks abroad during their studies to enhance their skills and experiences.

You are the class that is coming when much-needed expansion and upgrade of facilities at our School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences is on track to provide 5 floors of ultra-modern learning space and laboratory for our Medical and Allied Health Sciences.  This building is also expected to be completed in few weeks!

You are the class that is coming when our Centre for Global and African Languages and Cultures has opened her doors. You are the class that will be required to attain French language competency as a graduation requirement regardless of major. Henceforth, your class will be required to take French language if not every semester, most of the semesters you are at UTG to ensure that by graduation, you will attain a level of competency to enhance your competitiveness and professional mobility across the sub-region.  You will have opportunities to take introductory Turkish Language and culture, Spanish and basic Chinese….

Yes, indeed you are a unique class and we have great hope in your success here at UTG and beyond! Thus, use your time here optimally to maximise your potential beyond your imagination. As hard as it may be to imagine, in just 45 months, most of you will be UTG alumni. 

 

Admission Statistics Summary for the UTG Class of 2018  (Fall/September 2014 Only)

 

SAES- School of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences  ; SAS- School of Arts & Sciences ; SBPA- School of Business & Public Administration ; SOED- School of Education ; SOEA- School of Engineering & Architecture- BSc Community Built & Design; SITC- School of Information Technology & Communications; FLAW- Faculty of Law ; SMAHS- School of Medicine & Allied Health Sciences (Medicine, Nursing & Public & Env. Health)

 

Total number of accepted students = 480 + 60 students to be admitted in Medicine in October = 558 Students

Source: UTG Admission Office as of September 9th, 2014-  * Total includes 540  

 

GRADUATE STUDIES & RESEARCH- Class of 2018

S/noProgramMaleFemaleTotal

1M.A. – African History 707

2Msc –  Public Health81220

3MBA ( Collaboration with Amity University)29635

4MSc – Nursing527785MSc – Math Modelling (With Gaston Berger Uni).101

6MA- French-(with Uni. De Limoges)538

 

Total55237878

*Masters in Climate Change Admissions to be done later

 

 

Fall 2014/2015 ADMITS by REGION

Source: UTG Admission office as of September 9, 2014- Final Figures will be confirmed  

** The total number of admitted students is 540. All  of the admitted students were analyze for geographical or regional distribution. 

If I had but one wish for each of you, it is that in the years ahead you will be motivated and fired up adequately, that your minds be captured by some set of external questions, by some area of human understanding; that you develop a passion and enthusiasm for understanding, for hard work and discipline, for positive attitude and ambition, for progressing, for knowledge, for innovation, that here at UTG, you acquire not only knowledge, but also imagination, which you will use to solve immediate community and social problems and help eradicate poverty, diseases and innovations that will enhance and ensure food security and improve quality of life. 

Here, I share a favorite words of wisdom, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve” –  Mary Kay Ash

Many of you must wonder – I know I did when I went away to university – what life would be like in a world so different from your high school (and in my case, my country and culture, The Gambia)? From henceforth, you are no more a child but an adult with all opportunities for you to grab and expectations for you to be responsible for all your actions and choices.

Everyone here belongs, and everyone will find their place and will be provided with the necessary support and mentorship to succeed. You will walk away from UTG with your future and the futures of your communities more secured and hopeful and much brighter than it is today. 

Today, you can hardly go to any government entity, organisation and/or private sector where you will not find our graduates, not only performing but also leading. Thus, the future of this country is in the hands of UTG alums. I am optimistic you will become some of the architects and leaders of a brighter Gambia as envisioned by our chancellor. 

So, class of 2018, come on and enter UTG fired up, with your minds open to absorb knowledge more than sponges and be amongst creators of knowledge and to share it afar, work to better the lot of our common folks and communities.

What about UTG? I think I do know a little about what is special about great universities, and especially about this one – The UTG.  The greatness of UTG does not only depend on the quality of our programmess, faculty and infrastructure but the motivation, dedication and hard work of our students.

There will be many programs and choices you will be confronted with as you start your journey here at the UTG – the various Deans and HoDs have been working hard to entice you – one of the many academic traditions and cultures you will come to know. I encourage you to take chances, to stretch yourselves, and to try things that may seem beyond your reach. Don’t just sit back and absorb – become active participants in your education: ask questions, probe for answers. 

 

These four years will be filled with opportunities. This will be the best time in your life to read great books and ask big questions. You will never again have the same amount of time to do this with the same amount of concentration – as your parents/guardians or faculty, know too well, life just gets in your way. An education is much more than your major —a UTG education is preparation for not only a lifetime of “earning”, but a lifetime of “learning”.

I encourage you to participate in student activities: run for office for student government, other student’s associations etc., participate in one of the many boards. Take part in extra-curricular activities. Try out for a play or musical with the student’s choir. Find your passion here at UTG. Take advantage of the next four years – don’t waste a minute in idle hallway conversations that has no intellectual value for your growth here at UTG and beyond. 

What we expect of you here is that, above all, you accord everyone in the UTG community the respect due to each. What we hope of you here is that you will take full advantage of learning from each other as well as from your excellent faculty.

 I wish to take the opportunity to commend the leadership and efforts of the student government executive for the splendid work they continue to do and their courage to bring to our attention pressing matters that concern and affect the general student body. I must congratulate the student government executive and the entire student body for a very successful students’ week! Be out there, readily available to mentor positively these young ones embarking on their journeys!

But, you will come to understand what I believe is most important about UTG  – that it is gradually evolving and developing to be a hub of new and original thought and ideas. Yes, after all, it is ideas that are ultimately most important in this world and can uplift the world and countries that we aspire to become. Thus, The Gambia will be uplifted by ideas! Great and innovative ideas! 

This university is, above all, founded on a core conviction that knowledge/ideas, truth, development and the development of ideas, and their transmission are ultimately most important. 

Thus, we urgently need great thinkers and innovators amongst you in this country as we provide the space to create and innovate at UTG to be that “IDEA” hub developing and nurturing future generators of ideas and thinkers, we need you all to work hard, with the right attitude, a different attitude and character. Faculty should teach their classes responsibly, engage in research solving immediate local problems shared via publications in peer-reviewed conferences and Journals. 

UTG citizenship

Generally, the UTG does not presume to tell you who you should become, or with what groups to associate or not to associate. University citizenship, however, also entails the obligation to speak your own mind and to accept all other members of the community as contributors to the search for Knowledge, Truth and Development. 

As you embark on your journey at the UTG, it is important to note, in a university, nobody has the right to deny another person’s right to speak plainly, without concealment, and to the point. In a university discussion, your response to an argument must never be “Does she or he belong to the right group?” Instead, the only criterion is whether the argument is valid and truthful. An argument must not be rejected because the speaker is male or female, black or white, Gambian or foreign, Wolof or Madinka, Jola or Manjago, Serer or Fula. You were admitted to UTG as individuals, not in groups. This is a critically important aspect of university life; of the university’s own culture, its own civilization. We expect you all to be hugely responsible and focused and be students and excel. Any faculty and/or staff who wants to derail you in non-academic matters that will not improve your intellect is robbing you of your future and putting you at risk and does not have your interest at heart.

At this juncture, I must say, our enrollment pressure and demand for admission to UTG continue to rise. This is an encouraging development. However, I must register a very serious concern and challenge, most of our youths are not enrolling or gaining admissions in the Sciences and related areas. This is a trend I continue to observe since assuming office in 2009.  

Please note, in your current class cohort of 498+60* = 558, we observed an uptrend in majors in the sciences but the numbers remain low – only have 3 of your class majoring/admitted in Chemistry; 8 Physics, and 8 in Biology, 10 in Agricultural Sciences and 5 in Environmental Sciences and Mathematics 19 students.  The trends in these areas continue to be a challenge! The other areas are picking up, example, in Computer Science 15, 17 in Information Systems and 60 is expected to be admitted in Medicines and Allied Health Sciences (October intake) and 14 in Engineering related- Bachelor of Community Building & Design Program.  3 in English Language!

It is important to note, most of your peers with excellent results in other subjects – in some instances 6 or 7 credits but are not with you at this orientation or admitted at UTG, simply because they either failed mathematics and English or only registered a pass and not a credit. 

It is urgent and important to note, and should be of great national concern that most Gambian youth are shying away from the sciences in high schools and/or failing mathematics and English at the secondary school certificate level.   We cannot ensure a better future for you, if you the youth of this country continue to shy away from the sciences and mathematics and/or exhibit poor performances in high school. 

Yes, we know there are challenges in the learning of mathematics and sciences in the early years of schooling, which may have contributed to poor performance and motivation at the high school level but we also recognise that equally challenging is the teaching and learning environment for mathematics and the sciences. This must be addressed. I urge all parents out there to help guide their children further and provide needed support and confidence for them to embrace their sciences and mathematics and encourage the culture of reading and writing to help further develop their language and communication skills.

We the university take this challenge and threat to our development efforts and national innovation infrastructure and system very seriously and will continue to collaborate with colleagues at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) under the Leaderships of Hon. Faye with his able PS, Baboucarr Bouy, to urgently intervene. The Hon Minister of MoHERST- Dr Senghore and PS Dr Barry are equally committed to collaborative and partnership to address this huge challenge. We hope and expect you to be part of this urgent effort.

The premium of a UTG degree is huge and accepted by world-class universities as evidenced by where our graduates are pursuing and/or have pursued graduate degrees including master’s and PhD’s. These institutions include Oxford, University of Edinburg, top universities in Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand etc. This speaks to the increased quality of education you are about to receive. 

Our graduate and administration assistants/staff of UTG continue to earn opportunities of full scholarships to study at top universities across the world for their post-graduate degrees. In addition, all of these staff are also supported by UTG with study leave with salaries and in some instances we paid for their air tickets. Like others before them, we expect all of them to return to serve UTG after completion to strengthen the faculty and staff of the UTG for your continued benefit. All these teaching and administrative assistants are UTG alums who decided to build their careers here at UTG. 

Some of these brilliant alums were awarded very prestigious and competitive scholarships by the Commonwealth, Chevenings, IDB, Taiwanese government, ICDF scholarships and the Turkish government scholarships. We are very much appreciative of the support we continue to receive from our partners.  Some have just returned with very brilliant results and are here sitting amongst our midst. These are some of the opportunities that await you as you excel here during your 4 years!

This university and its faculty have no more important goal than helping you in this quest for higher education and to succeed. How? It’s hard to say. Fires can’t be controlled. Passions can’t be predicted or planned. You are all different. 

However, a quote that resonates well with me, I’ll share. Please take note! “I learned that the only way you’re going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it. Whether you’re a musician, a writer, an athlete, or a businessman, there is no getting around it. If you do, you’ll win. If you don’t, you won’t” – Bruce Jenner

 

But I give this advice: 

· First, follow your passion with enthusiasm and hard work, not your calculations. What you will remember from your time at UTG will be the special experiences, the networks you will forge, the knowledge you will acquire and share, the things that really catch and ignite your imagination.  Follow a degree programme towards your objectives. But most importantly, do what catches your imagination. If there is something you really want to do, some curiosity that you want to pursue, make sure that you do it, and don’t let anything stand in your way.

· Second, I share a quote that resonates well with me from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole Soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

·  Third, the UTG faculty and staff are here for you. There is no more important responsibility for any of us as members of the faculty and staff compared to teaching and working with you, the students of UTG.

But I promise you that you will find faculty and staff very willing to respond to your interests, to your curiosity, and to your invitations. Do not feel that you are ever wasting anyone’s time pursuing your curiosity or your interest. That is what we are all here for. As noted by the student Government leader, we have supported our students to pursue projects across the country, the sub-region or the world. Whether it is a university pageant competition, moot court competition with peers at world-class universities in Benin, South Africa, Washington, DC, Mozambique, The Hague, etc. Whether it is a group of students doing research with their faculty advisors traveling to regions of the country to document the history of our country through the lenses of the UTG students or travelling to Guinea Bissau to Kaabu and recently Guinea Conakry to further this research. Recent works include history of our fishing communities!

· Again, I will repeat focus on ideas. This is an extraordinary, rich, diverse and increasingly global community.    You can focus on ideas. Remember that faculty and staff are here for you, and to mentor you.    

· Another quote that I will share with you is, “Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe” – Gail Devers

· The main purpose in attending a college is to develop to the utmost and for a lifetime the ability to use reason to see clearer. For the next four years, you will hone that ability by, among other things, making your own choices about your own education. The university is a welcome to adulthood, to ambiguity and ambivalence and­ to the difficulty of making choices responsibly.

· Lastly, I will also share this quote I got from President Obama: “Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes Patience, it takes Commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you iearn from it; whether you choose to Persevere.”

We are thrilled to have you with us. Insha Allah, you will graduate from UTG able to think critically, express yourselves articulately, and write clearly. I look forward to getting to know you and sharing this wonderful UTG with you. Welcome to UTG & God Bless You All! May He continue to guide, protect us all and the integrity and sanctity of this hope and asset of our nation- The UTG! 

 

Good luck and God-speed to us all.

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