By Yankuba Jallow
Pierre Gomez, the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), on Friday June 4th 2022, visited the Crab Island Technical and Vocational Education Centre (Crab Island TVET) in Banjul.
The Minister and his entourage were received by the Crab Island TVET Board Chairperson Ousman Sillah, and staff of the institution.
Mr. Sillah expressed happiness for the visit by the Higher Education Minister who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and other senior officials from both Ministries.
According to Sillah, the Ministry of Higher Education Research, Science and Technology as well as the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education are their key partners in Government, and detailed that Government is providing support to Crab Island TVET in terms of providing scholarship in one of the course areas and support to the administrative staff. He said Crab Island is one of the subvented institutions by the Government where students demonstrate the skills they have acquired so far and talked about their experiences at the centre as well as what they envision for the future after acquiring skills.
“I would want to express our pleasure of receiving this high level officials who are our partners. As you know, the current course is taking place thanks to their support and we hope this visit is going to signal the continuation of that support, and not only the continuation of the current support, we want it to be expanded,” Sillah said. He called on the Ministry to support them in the 2nd phase, by building new structures to house more programs. Sillah said 175 students will be sent on industrial attachment or internship; that these students are those trained on seven areas such as electrical; satellite and solar installations; plumbering; tailoring; building construction and hairdressing.
“We have some institutions that are ready to accommodate them and accept them for three months to do their practicals, while under professional supervision,” Sillah said; that after the three months internship, the students will come back to the Centre in September for their final assessment to be supervised by NAQAA.
Louis Moses Mendy, permanent secretary at MoBSE, said the Gambia has one education policy which calls for the inclusion of TVET.
“What Crab Island TVET has done and is doing is very impressive,” he said.
PS Mendy explained that students are sent on attachment at different institutions and so far, the feedback from these institutions is positive. He explained that this week the students will be sent on attachment. He said Government desires to empower young people by providing them with the necessary skills to have a livelihood.
PS Mendy thanked Ousman Sillah and his management for the good work they are doing and promised him Government’s continuous support to Crab Island TVET.
On his part, Prof. Pierre Gomez, the Minister of MoHERST said there is a paradigm shift in the education sector of the country; that the mandate received from the President of the Republic is to transform and revamp the sector to become fit for purpose; that on this basis, the youth need to get the education and skills so that they stay and develop the nation. He asserted that this is the best way of curbing the perilous journey to Europe and to end rural-urban migration.
The Minister further said that the Gambia, since attaining her independence, has been importing labour; that the young people of this country should be empowered to have the skills to take part in nation building.
“We need to reverse. We need to take a sustainable road to development and that road has to be anchored on education with the need to revise and insist on the second stream of education such as TVET,” said Minister Gomez.
Gomez said this education is what produce the middle level cadre that this country needs.
“We will not depend on our neighbours waiting for experts to come,” he said. He said Government will provide TVET students scholarship the same way they do for those in academics; that after hearing the students speak about their plans, Government will support them and give them the hope that they can stay here and make it.