UTG journalism students protest over poor learning conditions

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By Omar Bah

Students of the University of The Gambia School of Journalism and Digital Media have yesterday protested against poor learning conditions, lack of facilities and insufficient qualified lecturers.

The protesting students demand the university management immediately provide adequate and qualified lecturers and a digital studio for their practical.

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“We are tired. No more school tuition without a proper and conducive learning environment. Enough is enough,” one of them chanted.

Speaking to journalists, the acting president of the UTG Journalism Students’ Association, Jainaba Boob, said the whole idea to protest started with the lack of cash-power which resulted in some lecturers refusing to come for lectures because the classes were either dark or hot.

She said lack of cash-power in the school of journalism has been a frequent occurrence.

“But that is not the only issue we have in the school of journalism. It just happened to be the trigger of the protest. The whole school of journalism has been operating for over a decade without a studio and whenever the students complain, the management will say equipment has been purchased and they are in the process of building the studio but in the end, nothing happens,” she said. She added that the students want to see action immediately because they cannot continue to pay the most expensive tuition fees and fall behind students from other schools in performance.

“We also have lecturers lecturing courses they are not competent to lecture and we also have lecturers who feel that their capabilities cannot be questioned by the students. These are issues that we want to stop – we want the school to be equipped with sufficient lecturers and equipment. We also have issues of missing grades because the management has passed a policy to close the portal after weeks of lectures for students who have not paid their tuition fees,” she said.

She said there are students whose courses are still not entered on the portal and the lecturers who delivered those courses are no longer with the school.

“We also want the school to be refurbished because the paint that was there when the school was built is still the same paint. It is either they address these issues or close the school for good,” she added.

The president of UTG Students’ Union, Kemo Conteh, said the union will stand with the students to ensure that their concerns are addressed. He urged the students to always consult the union when they have issues for proper coordination.

“We will stand with you at all times to ensure that your problems are addressed,” he said.

He said the union will engage the management to ensure that the issue of cash-power and studio is sorted out immediately.

Reacting to the students’ demands, the Deen of the UTG School of Journalism, Dr Wumi Adekunle, said the concerns have been communicated to the university management and they have already taken action.

She said the equipment for the radio studio has been bought already and the work has been contracted.

“The issue of the lecturers has also been addressed at the level of the vice chancellor and I can assure the students that these things will be sorted out,” she said. She said the school has a lab and students are given the opportunity to go for internships.