students of the University of The Gambia yesterday took the bull by its horns
as they demanded for better learning conditions.
At a press briefing at the School of Medicine and Allied Sciences in Banjul, students tabled out major challenges they felt are affecting them. They said these challenges compromise their academic programmes and their outcomes.
Ebrima Kalilu Manneh, a sixth-year student who read the dispatch on behalf of students said that their curriculum spreads across a period of about seven years, but for the past years students have been spending up to 8 years before they graduate.
“The current final year class is in their eighth-year and have still not graduated and the class behind have also incurred similar delays which might even extend their programme beyond eight years,” he said.
He explained that this means that students are required to pay for the extra year despite being delayed by the University, which he said could as well raise doubts about the credibility of the transcripts in contrast to seven years course outline.
The sixth-year student added that some of the lecturers entitled to a month’s holiday annually abroad and due to inconsistencies of their departure and return days, students are made to wait indefinitely until they are back.
“A lecturer stayed away for seven months and this almost paralysed the medical school and such things have been recurrent and as a result there had not been any fixed calendars or holidays for medical students” he stressed.
The students deemed it necessary that for an effective clinical rotation, it is essential for medical students to live at least a walking distance from the hospital as it will allow them easy access to patients and learning of clinical skills.
“The lack of accommodation has reduced clinical exposure of students and travel constraints especially odd hours make it unsafe particularly for female students,” he said.
Students revealed that they have tried to speak to the concerned stakeholders, but there have been no positive outcome.
According to them, they made this statement to request for a round table conference with the stakeholders including the provost, School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, the vice chancellor, University of The Gambia, minister of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology, minister of Health and Social Welfare and the president, Gambia Medical and Dental Council.
Students claimed they have also requested for a re-evaluation and improvement of the medical program and the learning conditions and as well as a dormitory that is within a walking distance from the hospital for the accommodation of medical students.