Feb 17, 2014, 9:44 AM
Speaking at the ceremony, the Vice President, Isatou Njie-Saidy, stated that the award of over 460 scholarships this year was twice that of last year, making an increment of 100 per cent since 2013.
“This marks the setting of a steady trend towards government’s resolve in making education free across all levels, Basic, Secondary and Higher education,” she said.
She indicated that human capital formation is a prerequisite for national development, adding that this was why the government emphasised on human resource development in all the national blueprints, particularly Vision 2020 and PAGE where “it forms one of the main pillars”.
“The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology was created to focus on the tertiary and higher education sector, and assure both quality and relevance,” said the Vice President.
VP Njie-Saidy pointed out that since the establishment of university education in The Gambia, the number of graduates had increased, with quality, adding that many of these could now be found in all walks of life in the country’s development areas.
In his remark on the occasion, Prof. Khalil, acting Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia, said the award ceremony marked an important milestone in the annual history of the university.
Also speaking at the ceremony was the permanent secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, who stated that the awarding of scholarship to the UTG students was not the first of its kind.
He said profound appreciation goes to the Gambia government, which has placed a high premium on the development of the human capital stock of the country as enshrined in the national development blueprint, Vision 2020.
Vision 2020 is out “to transform The Gambia into a financial centre, a tourist paradise, a trade, export-oriented, agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector, sustained by a well-educated, trained, skilled, healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population, and guaranteeing a well-balanced ecosystem and a decent standard of living for one and all, under a system of government based on the consent of the citizenry.”
According to Barry, there were more than 600 applications this year for a scholarship, and that this was a demonstration of the acute needs of families to see their children provided the needed support to further their education, as the number of Grade 12 graduates increases.
He disclosed that the university would benefit from the 467 scholarships offered in this year, in an amount close to D19 million.
Every deserving Gambian will be offered a chance to study to the highest level of education in The Gambia, which was why the ministry decided not to drop any student recommended by the scholarship advisory board, he said.
Therefore, he added, the process gave every deserving Gambian an opportunity to study.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries of the scholarship, Nyima Gomez said they were lucky to be among the many students granted scholarships to pursue their studies.
She thanked the Gambian government and promised to work hard for the betterment of the country.