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National Accreditation & Quality Assurance Authority inaugurated

Jul 27, 2015, 9:44 AM | Article By: Adama K. Jallow

The Minister of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology, Dr Abubacarr A. Senghore, on Friday presided over the inauguration of the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA).

The event was held at the new NAQAA building in Kanifing.

The new governing council members include the council’s appointed chairman, Mr Edrisa Mass-Jobe, QCell Executive Officer, Muhammed Jah, and Alhagie Abdoulie Baks Touray, CEO of Sahel investment.

It was stated that the appointments were made by President Yahya Jammeh.

The NAQAA has now replaced the former National Training Authority (NTA) which was responsible for the regulation and licensing of all skills training centres.

The new council’s functions essentially as an accrediting, awards and academic and professional development body for degree, diploma and certificate programmes proposed and developed at approved tertiary and higher education institutions.

It is aimed at registering institutions within the nation that offer courses that have met the minimum tertiary and higher educational standards with respect to student enrollment, to provide accreditation for degree, none degree and specialised programmes and to establish relationships with national and external accrediting and quality assurance bodies as well as to keep under review, their systems of accreditation procedures and practices.

Its objectives also include students’ interest protection, fixing and collecting fees in connection with the exercise of its functions among others.

In his inaugural speech, Minister Abubacarr Senghore said the authority’s establishment process, which began in 2013, is part of the on-going reforms within the tertiary and higher education sector aimed at building a reputable and credible tertiary and higher education sector that will adequately responsible to the needs and aspirations of Gambians and people living in the nation.

Minister Senghore stated that in accordance with the NAQAA Act 2015, the council shall determine the validity and equivalence of diplomas, certificates and other qualifications awarded by institutions within or outside The Gambia, to approve issuance of establishment, registration and accreditation licenses, to decide on the appointment, functions, emoluments and code of conduct of the authority’s staff among others. He thanked President Yahya Jammeh, cabinet minister and National Assembly for the support given in the creation of the body.

In his confirmation and acceptance response, Council’s Chairman Edrisa Mass-Jobe said: “I wish to thank very sincerely his Excellency, who put his trust in us to perform the duties of Council members. We remain deeply indebted to him for the opportunity to partake in the management of this authority set up to pursue genuine economic independence through our work to enhance the quality of learning opportunities in The Gambia.”

He noted that their stake in the ground is to support higher education providers in enhancing the quality of the education they provide through the sharing of best practices, international benchmarks and ideas.

Mr Mass-Jobe said that their work would look into more detail, the student experience including workload, class size, staff qualifications and how institutions respond to student feedback.

He added that the Authority should go beyond safeguarding the standards of Gambian higher education. “We will also work to help universities and other providers improve the quality of the learning experience,” he said.

In his welcoming remarks, the Permanent Secretary at the Minister of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, acknowledged the huge efforts made by the NTA, which had “worked diligently” to ensure skill development is given high premium across the nation, up to the creation of the NAQAA.

PS Barry noted that the Gambia government through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology has committed itself to expanding the tertiary and higher education components of the nation after the advent of the University of The Gambia.

He revealed that it was necessary to have an authority that would extend the powers of the NTA to cover the tertiary and higher education institutions.

He said the NAQAA is going to be helping to further strengthen the work started by the NTA since its inception.

Barry informed council members that the appointed members to the NAQAA are people who the president believed to have contributed enormously in the private sector development in the nation, both in skills and enterprise development and who have made heavy investments in the creation of employment and the eradication of hunger.

Other council members include Alieu Secka, CEO of GCCI, Dr Denise Shukla, president of the American International University, Mrs Naffie Barry, PS at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment, Mr Babucarr Boye, PS at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, PS at the Ministry of Education, Research Science and Technology among others.