By Momodou Jarju
Tijan Jallow, the President of Students Teachers Association (STA), a sub-union at the college of students and teachers, told Foroyaa that the Administration of the Gambia College have justified the recent tuition fees increment by arguing that it is simply a restoration of the original amount set aside for them.
The admin, which complains of low subsidies from government, increased the tuition fees from D7, 000 to D12, 000 for Advance Diploma students, D7, 000 to D10, 000 for Diploma students, and D7, 000 for Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECD).
The recent increment includes ongoing students in the second and third year plus the new intakes.
Dozens of ongoing students are engaging relevant authorities over the increment of tuition fees that the administration disclosed few weeks back. They have teamed up and formed a group called “No Deal for Tuition Fee Increment” (NDFTFI) to stand by the affected students and negotiate for the reduction or maintaining of the former fee of D7, 000.
President Jallow said: “What they told us is that is a restoration not an increment because there was an agreement between the ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) and the college that they would be training teachers while they are on scholarship, but now they did not honour that agreement then they decided to restore the fee back to its original amount.”
Mr. Jallow, who is in his third year, said the administration informed them that among the reasons for the increment of the tuition fees is to avoid constant strike by lecturers over payment of salaries and the 50% increment they promised to pay them (the lecturers), which occurred few months back.
“So, it is believed that there is an agreement that was made by the ministry (MoBSE) and the college that the education students will be paying half and there would be scholarship for them from the ministry. That was happening previously,” he said but this has ceased according to the administration.
On 21 August, 2019, NDFTFI met with the Student STA to discussion the matter. The chairperson of the group Jarrai Fayenkeh told the sub-union that the administration has the right to increase tuition fees but it is not right for them to include the current students.
She said as far as they are concerned, the agreement they (ongoing students) had with the admin was for each to pay D7000 per annum as indicated in their acceptance letter when they were admitted.
STA President Tijan Jallow told the students that they have engaged both the registrar, Mr. Demba Yabo and his deputy Mr. Yusupha Jobe on the issue and he outlined the reasons for the tuition fees increment by the admin.
According to him, the administration said the college was tasked to charge tuition fees to students by the National Assembly since 2015 but it was not implemented until 2017. He lamented the low subsidies from government.
“The College is running its own affairs and it is given a subvention of 1.1 million dalasi from the government. The college is paying its staff about 4 million dalasi and the college is spending about 40,000 dalasi on observation,” Jallow remarked.
Last year during the orientation of new intakes at the college, the deputy registrar of the College Mr. Jobe informed the intakes that the fees could increase at any time the institution deems it fit to do so.
The oldest tertiary learning institution has been in the headlines since 2017 when tuition fees introduced were introduced by the administrators. Many people opined that the college is being privatized, an opinion the administration denounced.
Meanwhile, STA and NDFTFI would visit MoBSE today, Monday, to asses the situation so that they would be able to find a solution to the problem.