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Higher Education is about partnership, says Minister

Feb 2, 2011, 12:22 PM | Article By: Sainey MK Marenah

The Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr. Mariama Sarr- Ceesay, has told the visiting officials of the American International University West Africa (AIU) that higher education is all about partnership.

She made this declaration shortly after she held a closed door meeting with the AIU president and other officials of the newly-established university, in her office along the

Bertil Harding Highway
in Kotu.

According to Dr Sarr-Ceesay, higher education anywhere is the bedrock of a country’s human resources development, noting that the coming of the AIU is timely and welcome initiative.

“The university is here to complement the development efforts of the Gambia government. We are trying to see and build our grounds for the realization of quality education for all Gambians. We are also looking into everything,” she noted.

The minister described her meeting with the AIU officials as encouraging, revealing that they had a frank discussion. Noting that higher education is a very important component of any country’s development, Minister Sarr-Ceesay further stated that higher education ensures development, and that without higher education it will be difficult for any country to achieve it’s development goals and aspirations.

AIU president Dinnesh Shukla said: “We had a very fruitful and frank discussion with the minister and her permanent secretary. What we elaborated on was that we want to synergize our resources so that it can benefit all local institutions in the country, especially the students and the people of The Gambia.”

Mr. Shukla added that they are going to prepare a framework on how to partner or affiliate to other institutions of higher learning, noting that they will be creating an atmosphere of a complementary nature with the University of The Gambia.

He made clear that they are not here to compete with the University of the Gambia, saying that they would like to complement each other’s efforts and forge a strong partnership.

According to him, their aim is to make higher education more accessible and affordable to Gambians, adding that the AIU is a private university with a school of Medicine, Chemistry and Pharmacy to cater for their students’ needs.

He underscored the importance of university education, which he said can help eradicate literacy and even poverty in any society.

Furthermore, he added, the AIU is the first university in Africa to provide programs based on a curriculum modeled after major professional schools in the United States of America.

He assured the ministry of his university’s unflinching commitment to offer quality education to Gambians and non-Gambians alike, pointing out that this can be achieved through concerted collaboration with stakeholders.