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REPCON: The Epitome of career education

Apr 15, 2010, 2:53 PM | Article By: Augustine Kanjia

The need for education in The Gambian society and in the world keeps increasing with the challenges of the new millennium. In a bid to realise the Vision 2020 dream and make it a reality, many educational institutions have come into being specifically to educate the working force to be more productive in pertinent areas of life. Daniel Dallah Kanu, a well-seasoned man in the areas of Business Management, Marketing, Account and Finance and Insurance among others set up the REPCON Business and Professional Institute in Churchill's Town to cater for the professional needs of the work force.

As the Director cum lecturer of the Institute, Mr. Kanu who hails from Sierra Leone believes that people leaving school and those working should enrol in a school that will enhance their earning power and give them respect in society. Society and Development asks him about his early beginnings and how they have fared on since the institution came into being in 2006.

S&D: Could you tell me about yourself in line with your career please?

DD Kanu: I am a Sierra Leonean. I am married with two kids. I studied and have seven Diplomas in Management Studies (ICM), Business Studies (ICM), Accounting and Finance (ICM), Marketing Advertising and Public Relations (ICM), Accounting and Finance (ICM), Commercial Studies (ICM), Certificate in Commercial Studies (ICM) Certificate in Property Liability and Commercial Under Writing Insurance of America (11A) INS 20-INS21 and an Advanced Diploma in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations (ICM). I have a lot of work experience from Sierra Leone to The Gambia as well. I have attended several workshops and seminars too.

S&D: How did REPCON start as an institution?

DD Kanu: It was set up in November 2006. It was not easy at the initial stage of its inception. It started from a very humble beginning. But the determination was there with the spirit of entrepreneurship giving chance to always stand the challenges and those challenges were not easy.

S&D: What were your initial challenges?

DD K: When we entered the business the marketing was very, very saturated. We tried to get all the accreditation nationally and internationally because it was the only option for survival. Domestically, the National Training Authority (NTA) gave me a probation period of six months for a start. After the six months NTA changed their regulations and asked all institutions to reregister to meet those regulations. We met those regulations and new rules and we were given another six months with other schools. Some schools were given three years depending on the evaluation. We submitted again after six months and were accredited to conduct programmes in Accounting, Management, Marketing and Information Technology for three years.

S&D: Why this trend?

DD Kanu: Well, the trend shows that we are following the NTA regulations. At the international level we were the first institution to be accredited by the Institute of Commercial Management in UK (ICM.) later London Centre of Marketing, UK (LCM.)

S&D: Do you have any expectations to surprise your potential and present students?

DD K: Our papers are being processed by the Institute of Management and Information Systems (IMIS). By next month we would receive our accreditation from them. We have sent everything they want. We are happy to report that we are as an institution recognised nationally and internationally for the areas we are accredited for.

S&D: Have you any progress story?

DD Kanu: Yes sir! From 2006, I stand to be corrected, to 2010 Repcon is the only institute that trained and produced students in Graduate Diploma in Marketing. Most of our students taking external exams, be it ICM or LCM are successful in Accounting and Finance, Business Studies, Marketing etc. Today most of the staff working in Banks and other institutions were trained here at REPCON. I always see products of Repcon in big positions. Their lives have been uplifted. We have contributed a lot to the community.

S&D Kanu: What does Repcon rely on for fund raising?

DD Kanu: Repcon relies on school fees because of that condition we always make sure we deliver or satisfy or our customers or students.

S&D: Are you appreciative of anything at all?

DD Kanu: We are very grateful for some reasons because we have never been found wanting up to date. We are always been cooperative not only with NTA but with the local government, government institutions, and we make sure our transactions are correct and as demanded by law. We maintain an open door policy, so that they know that we act on fair play and transparency as expected. But we still have our concerns.

S&D: What would your concerns be?

DD Kanu: If Repcon should be Gambian owned, to live and exist in The Gambia, we have our concerns to let it exist as our vision calls for. It is our development plan to own a land to build a school so that we would not waste money on rent. We want the government to help us with a land as it is done with schools.

S&D: Have you made any move towards this end?

DD Kanu: I have approached authorities but there is one or two things that need clarification before land can be given. Another factor is, today schools have high operational cost than before. I can't say it is for the competition, it is because the regulators do not actually know some of the constraints schools are undergoing because of some of the regulations they believe is good for schools. I think there should be a common ground where the nitty-gritty of schools and the insight of the regulatory body are properly analysed, so that regulations can’t create constraints or schools can't be constrained. So as to meet standard so that collectively you will have the common ground to improving education in the Gambia especially TIVET. (Technical and Vocational training.)

S&D: Any suggestions?

DD Kanu: Of these constraints there are some successes that we can achieve in the future if things are well guarded for the common good. E.g. the development of the GSQ (Gambia Skills Qualification.) One of the obstacles for students in The Gambia is the payment of their external exams fees, so when the GSQ is introduced it will not only cut down this exorbitant external fees but will also enhance skills acquisition by making it affordable to all.

S&D: What do you think about the GSQ?

DD Kanu : To make it a formidable examination NTA should sensitize the public, set up a proper exams administration and create the opportunity for writing materials that will bring in local examples and then make sure the GSQ is internationally recognised. Gambia is going nationally but we must peg it with international standards.

S&D: Has the industry been doing well from last year to this year?

DD Kanu: No the industry has not been doing well. Either because of the global economic problem or the fear that a particular schools would be shut down. To alleviate these fears, NTA needs to campaign to educate the populace to sensitise them to go to school again without hesitation. Most students want to learn but they are afraid. The less number of students we have the higher the fees becomes. It is clear that Repcon is not government owned but it does not mean that government should not help, we are all here for the same goal. They should try to help us to develop.

S&D: Do have anything too thank the government about?

DD Kanu: Oh yes! I commend government for peace, basic necessities, water, electricity and the peace. These help schools a lot. Without these school fees cost would rise.

S&D: Any word to the public?

DD Kanu: We have training in progress and we want to assure the public that most of the courses they pay for in Pounds overseas are provided here at REPCON. We can also serve as a springboard for those who want to train abroad. Government should enhance the capacity of training schools only to regulate them so that training fees will be reduced.

S&D: Do you have a mission bjective?

DD Kanu: Yes. Our Mission Objective is: "Providers of affordable Training that meets business and professional standards." We would be delighted to be partner with anybody who shares this vision with us.