By Mariama Marong
The University of the Gambia (UTG) on Wednesday the 24th of March 2021 inaugurated its novel Career and Wellness Center for Counseling and Main Library.
The Career and Wellness Center for Counseling was fully funded by United Nation Development Programs (UNDP), while the Main Library was supported by the Turkey Government through TIKA.
The event was attended by the Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Mr. Badara Joof, Ambassador of The Republic of Turkey, Mr. Tolga Bermek, UNDP representative, Vice Chancellor of the UTG, dignitaries and students.
Speaking at the ceremony Minister Joof said the library, which has both traditional and E library materials, will provide access to lots of journals, books, audios and videos to users.
Minister Joof said guiding and counseling should be able to focus the minds of students on the choices they make for national development and their professional career which will be relevant to the advancement of this country.
“It is not about self-actualization in terms of getting certificates, but is about translating that knowledge to the general public,” he said.
He said the mandate of developing the medical, agricultural, science and technology is all relative to the mandate of the UTG and MDI, and that justifying the development of teachers, nurses, and agricultural technicians are all in line with the mandate of Gambia College.
The Ambassador of Republic of Turkey, Mr. Tolga Bermek, said education is no exception in the development of a country and investing in education means investing in the future of that particular country.
Tolga Bermek described education as maintaining peace and global stability in the long term and university plays very important role, not only in education, but in developing new scientific values and social well-being of people.
He said the project is to develop the structural motive of the library. He said a well equip library is crucial in the development of the students and their research.
Ms. Awa Joof Peters, who was representing the UNDP Country Rep, said UNDP was glad to be partners with the UTG. She acknowledged the work of the university in ensuring that the center is a learning institution that is in line with international standards.
She said UNDP has signed a memorandum of understanding with the university in order to continue supporting and working with the institution.
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Faqir Muhammad Anjum, expressed his gratitude to the partner agencies for their support. He said Tika has provided library with KOHA Library Software that will enable students find books and periodicals through the internet facilities in the library.
Professor Faqir said the library has a TEEAL (The Essential Electronic Agriculture Library) database machine donated by the University of Cornell in New York that students and lecturers will use to access information on Agricultural Science.
He said UTG will be paying a subscription fee of USD27, 000 per annum. This will allow students and staff to access 17,986 journals and books from 5,886 publishers.
According to the Vice Chancellor, teachers, researchers and students will benefit from the resource by having access to thousands of journals in different discipline. This, he said, is unprecedented in the history of UTG, and it will help boost the research culture within students.
As the only national university, he said they have the obligation to help the students and the wider university community access the job market and to ensure the well-being of the students.
He also said career guidance and counseling will provide the students and employees with access to career support and guidance to overcome their personal challenges and help them find employment.