By Oumie Bojang
The University of The Gambia and University of Jaen in Spain have come together for a week to celebrate commitment, foster international partnership and consolidate academic excellence. The international collaboration is geared towards providing a mechanism to kick-start a much needed change for the University of The Gambia.
Reiterating the significance of the week Herbert Robinson, Vice Chancellor UTG, said the university is the laboratory for change, and change cannot happen in any society or country without universities. “Today we are celebrating a significant milestone in history as this is the first International Staff Week organised by the University of Jaen in Africa. The University of The Gambia is therefore delighted to be associated with an event of this magnitude bringing together educators and professionals from diverse backgrounds to share knowledge, experiences, and innovative ideas.”
He added that the Erasmus program has long been an instrument for collaboration, promoting mobility of staff and students, and cultural exchange to enhance the quality of education through shared expertise. Through the UTG-UJA partnership, the achievements so far are as follows: Seven (7) UTG staff benefited from a week-long exchange programme at UJA.Currently, ten (10) UTG students are in Spain for a semester and another ten (10) students are leaving this week for another semester. In addition to the students, a selection process is underway for about ten (10) staff who will benefit from the staff mobility component. The two institutions are working on other initiatives to deepen our collaboration such as research collaboration, academic fellowships and long-term staff academic exchange.
Jose Ignacio Jimenez Gozalez Vice Rector internalisation of the Universidad de Jaén, said this staff Week is a common academic initiative between their two universities, the University of Jaén and the University of The Gambia. It has been conceived precisely as the ideal frame to discover potential ways to strengthen academic and scientific collaboration, to discuss potential ideas, proposals and projects that may bring new opportunities for the mutual benefit and deeper understanding between the institutions and two countries. “The cooperation between our institution is young but already very solid, and we share multiple topics of interest. Thus, a strong confidence and mutual respect have been built over the past year.”
Ms Voiletta Insa Sandoval representative from Spainish Embassy Dakar said The Gambia and Spain are partners in many areas. They support The Gambia in different sectors, such as security, they have been putting efforts to try to prevent smuggling of migrants. But they believe that in addition to these efforts, education and the creation of opportunities for the youth is key. “We are determined to cooperate in the education of Gambian youth and their preparation for the future. This is the best investment any government can make. The University of Gambia is in a process of growth that I would like to publicly acknowledge. I would like to commend the efforts of the Gambian government and the UTG to build a modern and ambitious university. The opening of the new campus, the launching of the University of Science and Engineering, the creation of the Gambian Institute of Public Administration, are just some of the recent milestones to mention. Congratulations also for the ongoing process of internationalisation.” she remarked