Gambian leader, Adama Barrow, over the weekend presided over the commissioning
of the foundation of six classroom blocks set to be constructed at Brikama
Campus of the University of The Gambia (UTG).
The project is valued at D6,000000 dalasis and more than 17 classrooms with modern laboratory and office spaces are expected to be constructed with funding from MRC Holland Foundation.
President Barrow also donated five pick-up vehicles to The Gambia College. He also distributed four buses among the UTG, the Management Development Institute (MDI) and The Gambia College. He also gave three tractors to UTG. The vehicles, the president said are meant to enhance student and staff mobility and ease supervision and monitoring of programmes in all six regions of the country.
Barrow thanked Henritte Brummer Sonko from MRC Holland Foundation for sponsoring the construction of the 18 classrooms blocks and for her continuous support and collaboration with the Ministry of High Education.
Upon completion, he said, the classrooms will provide additional learning space for students of both The Gambia College and UTG by lowering the students’ classrooms ratio.
“Since taking office last year, my government has never stopped and will never stop to put a great premium on education, giving the pivotal link between education and the enhancement of the prospect and procession of socio-economic growth and development for any country.”
“My government will leave no stone on turn in this vision, drive and commitment to support all our learning institutions including the
tertiary category. Critically in this drive, it is about building of the capacities of these institutions so as to transform them into educational centers of excellence,” the president said.
The Gambian leader said they are aware of the necessity to address the urgent needs of more classrooms space, well equipped laboratory, adequate water supply and decent toilet facilities at Brikama Campus.
His government through the Ministry of High Education, he explained, has been providing solar power boreholes and refurbishing classrooms and offices in the School of Public Health. “My government is confidence that through partnership with all, including good friends of The Gambia such as MRC Holland, many of the challenges confronting the UTG, The Gambia College and the Management Development Institute will be significantly alleviated.”
Already, a wide range of other capacity efforts has been undertaken to increase educational opportunities for all Gambian especially those in the public tertiary institutions, he said. “This includes critical scholarship that has been granted to many students in these institutions.”
According to Mr. Barrow, currently 3062 students are beneficiaries of national scholarship, 2340 of whom are at the UTG and 722 in other institutions, adding that 582 are currently beneficiaries of our bilateral cooperation and international scholarships.
Prof. Faqir Muhammad Anjum, the vice chancellor of the UTG, on behalf of the beneficiaries described the occasion as historic for the UTG and The Gambia College, while assuring that the donated vehicles will be put to their intended purposes.
For her part, Henritte Brummer Sonko, from MRC Holland Foundation said her foundation provides about 800 classrooms and also 500 others have been renovated. According to her, their plan is to build a teacher training centre in Basse. “We hope by doing that, the teacher shortage in the rural Gambia will be a thing of the past.”
The minster of High Education Research Science and Technology, Badara Joof and the contractor Alhagie Saidybah both spoke on the significance of the occasion.