By: Kebba AF Touray
Sidia Jatta, the National Assembly Member for Wuli West, said Tuesday 3rd November 2020 that the University of The Gambia should be closed if it cannot produce knowledge and skills that is needed for the country’s development.
He said this during the appearance of the Officials of the University of the Gambia, before the legislative select committee on Education, for the presentation of their activity reports and financial statement.
Jatta said the University of The Gambia needs a healthy budget for it to attract the best lecturers and professors so that it can compete with other universities around the world.
He said the purpose of having professors in a university, is for the creation of knowledge and skills and for one to become a professor, he or she must be creative, which other people would see and confirm the originality of what has been created by that professor.
He said the university cannot get personnel with required qualifications, due to the fact that the university, lacks the needed money to pay professors and lecturers, adding that the professors and lecturers need money to apply themselves throughout their lives, so as to better the system they are serving. He added that there are many Gambians with qualifications the world over who can serve as lecturers and professors.
He said: “If you don’t have that money, you cannot t get them. We have many Gambians abroad who are professors, but they won’t come here.”
He said this is because what UTG would pay them is pittance compared to what they would have at those Universities.
He tasked the officials of the UTG to prepare their budget to commensurate to the tune and needs of the university and table it with the select committee, so that they can advocate for allocation at plenary, adding that what they are doing requires money.
He said: “These are inadequacies that we must address. University is not just an image which does not exist, but an instrument which enables you to develop, because we need skills and knowledge to better our world. If you cannot produce that here, close up”.
He said: “The University of the Gambia is almost two decades now and there is still no structured unit for research in the university”.
He said the university does not attract international students, due to lack of means of having international students and that amid huge competitions among universities in the world, people would choose to go to the best universities, where they can acquire the best knowledge and skills, and where the creation of knowledge and skills are on the high scale.
He said: “But you don’t go to university where there is no knowledge and skills creation. To say that there are 60 Gambian mathematical students at Sheikh Anta Diop University also tells a lot. How can university send its students to another university to learn what they are supposed to offer”.
He lamented that that shows that there is something fundamentally missing and unless that is addressed, the Gambia University would just be there as a university in name and that is not the purpose of creating the university.
He said: “Despite the inadequacies in the university, they are still talking about creating 3 or 4 more universities in the Gambia. It is better to do few very well, than to do many in a mediocre way, and that is what is happening in this country.”
He said the country has a system which turns out bad things and reject them and then turned back on those things and swallow them back, with reference to the time of common entrance system, during which those who passed exams were supposed to be academically minded, while those who dropped were supposed to be people who were not academically minded, and it was deemed fit to create something for those who dropped out of school.
He said this has led to the creation of Crab Island to address the issues regarding those who dropped during common entrance examination, but it eventually turned into an academic institution, adding that they were producing students who were competing with students in other schools to go to high schools.
He reiterated: “That is what I mean by vomiting something and swallow it back. Every system by virtue of what it is must have in-built capacity to regulate itself. Self-regulatory mechanisms are essential elements of the systems”.
failed were termed as academic inclined and those who had failed were termed as academically declined.