By Assan Bah
The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) has validated the Gambia College Transformation Committee’s (GCTC) report on the transformation of the Gambia College into a University of Education (UoE).
The two-day validation workshop, which spanned from 3 and 4January 2024, brought together stakeholders from various higher education institutions, to review the draft transformation roadmap in order to ensure the provision of relevant training to produce quality-teachers and specialists in various fields of education.
Dr. Katim S. Touray, the Chairperson of the Committee, highlighted the process that they took to produce the report, and explained that it is the output of thorough consultations of stakeholders and an online survey.
“We have reviewed various documents and had various consultations in Ghana.We also conducted an online survey where we received respondents all the way from Hong-Kong, India, United Kingdom and within the Gambia,’’ Dr. Touray said.
The Chairperson of the Gambia College Governing Council, Dr. Alieu Badara Senghore, reminded stakeholders that the Gambia College was established many years ago with the vision of contributing to the development of the country by providing quality middle-level training and skills development for personnel in the education, agriculture and health sectors of the country.
He, however, reported that the Gambia College has always lacked sufficient graduate teachers, arguing that “the University of the Gambia should have started as a University of education”.
Dr. Senghore assured the officials of the Ministry of Education of the Council’s commitment towards the vision of working persistently to produce a University that would train quality teachers to groom the next generation of Gambians.
Representing the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), Mr. Adama Jimba Jobe, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in charge of programmes at MoBSE, also underlined the importance of the report in trying to address quality education in the system, as quality education remains a challenge in the country. He added that if the country is able to graduate teachers from the core areas, they could salvage this country with graduate teachers in ECD level. He assured his Ministry’s obligation with MoHERST in the whole process in order to ensure more graduate teachers at all levels.
In his opening remarks, MoHERST Minister Professor Pierre Gomez, said education is the bed-rock for any sustainable development adding that the rationale of the transformative project is to produce a teacher training University.
“As we embark on this transformational journey, our focus is driven by a steadfast dedication to fostering quality education, creating robust career pathways for teachers and ensuring that their training is elevated to degree levels. This transformational agenda is not merely about upgrading an institution, but it is about elevating the education standards in The Gambia. We aim to increase equitable access to tertiary and higher education, by ensuring that every Gambian can receive a world-class education,’’ Prof. Gomez said.
He further stated that due to his Ministry’s pursuit of excellence, theyhave proposed an all-inclusive review of the curriculum to align with the current and future demands of the country’s education system.
“The curriculum must be dynamic and continually evolving to meet the education system’s current and future demands. This includes incorporating innovative teaching methods, embracing adaptive technologies and fostering critical thinking and analytical skills. This forward-thinking approach will enable us produce not just teachers, but transformative educators who can adapt to the evolving needs of society,’’ Prof. Gomez said.
He assured that the roadmap would not only be a plan, but a promise for the future of The Gambia and expressed gratitude to the committee for theirsteadfastness and commitment in coming up with such a report.