By Amadou Manjang
Students of the School of Journalism and Digital Media at the University of the Gambia, on Thursday 15th December 2022, staged a protest on the front steps of the Journalism School building, demanding for enough cash power supply and a campus studio and radio station, to enable them practice what they learn in classrooms.
The students held banners which read: “We Need Enough Cash power” and “#No Studio, #No Tuition Fee,” among other phrases.
Jainaba Mbowe, the acting president of the School of Journalism and Digital Media Students’ Association, said they need a studio and a radio station on campus so that they can learn practical radio journalism. She said they have been only doing theory because they have no studio or radio station where practical journalism can be learned.
Ms.Mbowe said that they also protested because the number of their lectures has been canceled due to the shortage of cashpower, to provide electricity in classrooms.
“It has been four days that we are not provided with cashpower for electricity in our school. We only have cashpower when management hears that we are going to protest,” she said; that their lecturers do come to class only to find out that their classrooms are dark because there is no cashpower for electricity.
“These have been happening here,” she said.
She however said that they have met some staff of the university management to discuss with them and put forward their demands.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor and Director of Students’ Affair and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology are said to be currently out of the country.
The Acting President said that once the above-mentioned authorities are back in the country, they will meet and put their demands before them, with a deadline for these to be met.
“If they did not meet the deadline, there would be a bigger protest than this,” Lamin Sanyang, the Research Minister of the sub-association said.
Sanyang further said that the shortage of cashpower in the School of Journalism affects the works of students as well as their association.
“And the University management cannot say they are not aware of this because it has been put to their attention before for many times,” he said.
He said the cashpower problem of the University needs to be resolved once and for all, because it has been a “perennial problem”.
Dr. Wumi Adekunle, the Dean of the School of Journalism and Digital Media who spoke to the protesting students, said they will do everything within their powers to address their concerns.
She urged students to have patience for their concerns to be amicably resolved by the University management, and said management has already contracted some people for the building of a studio, and said the contractor has started work but was disrupted by the heavy rains of the last summe.
Kemo Conteh, the president of the general student’s union said the protest has taken them by surprise because they were not aware of it, but told the students that the executive of the student’s union will see to it that the concerns and welfare of the journalism students are addressed.
He however cautioned the protesting students to take the necessary and rightful measures to address their concerns and welfare not against the University management but with them.