President Barrow Inaugurates Lot 1 of UTG’s Faraba Banta Campus

63

By Makutu Manneh 

President Adama Barrow has inaugurated Lot 1 of The University of The Gambia (UTG) Faraba Banta Campus on Saturday, 2 March 2024, which comprises the four schools of business and public administration, arts and sciences, education, information technology and communications, and a library facility, a water treatment plant and an electrical sub-station. 

The four schools of Lot 1 can accommodate over 3,500 students at the same time while the library building has a capacity of 1,200 students. 

Alongside the inauguration, a foundation stone was laid for the commencement of Lot 2 which consists of the chancery, the faculty of law, the school of agriculture and environmental sciences, which is expected to be completed by next year. The library is named Dr. Alieu Joof Library, the late Vice President of The Gambia. 

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, President Barrow said the UTG now has a permanent home, ending “the bitter” experience of students trekking to and from rented halls and makeshift classrooms or sometimes, attending classes under trees. He said as the African Union recognised 2024 as the Year of Education and renewed its commitment to setting up an education system aligned with advanced socio-economic development, his government had paid attention to the intricate link between education and socio-economic development as reflected in the country’s national development plan.

“These magnificent university structures will not only add to the glamour and performance of the UTG as a learning centre to reckon with on the continent, but will also complement the other laudable initiatives in the education sector. Given the urgent need to boost youth employment and fight poverty, Government has boldly embraced a robust transformation strategy for the higher education system,” the president said.

The president advised the UTG administration to take the lead in curricular reform to make sure that education provision is responsive to the development needs of the country and beyond.

Herbert S. Robinson, Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia highlighted that the inauguration of UTG Faraba Banta Lot 1 Campus reflects on the journey that has brought them to where they are because it symbolizes progress, growth and the fulfillment of their collective aspirations as a nation. He said all the buildings are fully furnished with modern teaching and learning equipment including smart boards, computers and projectors. 

“With expanded facilities and resources, we will enhance our academic offerings, elevate our research endeavour and strengthen our community engagement,” he said. 

Mathew P. Ndure, Chairperson of the University Governing Council, said the Campus gives the management, staff and students of the UTG a feeling of University life that they did not have before.

However, he said that the continued enjoyment of the campus depends on how they utilize it responsibly and the extent to which they preserve their original plans, and said this task is a shared obligation of all parties of the university community 

“The governing council takes full responsibility for the proper upkeep of this campus and will ensure that all stakeholders play their part in the realization of that commitment as the highest oversight body within the University,” he said. 

Mr. Ndure added that the governing council will carry an annual and detail inspection of the Campus in addition to receiving from management regular reports on operations and the state of the physical environment.

Partners to this project are the US Government, the European Union, the Chinese Government, the Government of South Korea, the World Bank Group, the Republic of Turkiye, UNESCO, and all those involved in the educational transformation endeavour of The Gambia Government, through the Office of the Governing Council.

Brighter Future and MRC Holland Foundation will start the construction of the dormitories for both students and staff.