Nov 7, 2008, 5:04 AM
Honourable Ministers here Present
Honourable members of the National Assembly
The Chairman, Gambia College Governing Council, Principal and Staff of The Gambia College
Vice Chancellor- University of The Gambia and Staff
The Dutch Consular and Director MRC - Holland Foundation,
Local Government Authorities, Chiefs, Alkalos and Venerable Religious Leaders present
Ladies and Gentlemen
Students of the College
I thank Allah, the Almighty for availing us the opportunity to witness the official opening of the Gambia College, School of Education Annex here in Basse, URR.
This is in fulfilment of one of our Constitutional mandates – Right to Educational opportunities and making Higher education accessible to all.
Furthermore, education has been a key priority of my government, as clearly manifested in the National Development Plan. We were resolved to remedying the disadvantages that our people in rural Gambia have suffered from in the past, when children had to abandon their parents in search of college education in the Greater Banjul Area.
Since I assumed the mantle of leadership of this country, my government has taken, and continues to take concrete steps to make education, in general, and tertiary and higher education, in particular, accessible. In the process, we found a willing partner, The MRC-Holland Foundation who sponsored this great edifice. A little over a year ago, we gathered here to lay the foundation stone of the first ever outreach campus of the Gambia College.
This educational annex, which will be inaugurated shortly, will also play a significant part in reducing the rural-urban migration and by extension immigration of our youths outside the country. The teachers who will graduate from this annex, will stay here and provide our children with the quality education they deserve. I assure you further that my government will continue to bring development to the doorsteps of every Gambian.
As a people, we must educate our children to guarantee their future and the development of this nation. We cannot achieve this if we restrict access to education.
As a native of rural Gambia, I saw how people struggled for accommodation when they first arrived in the Kombos to seek for better career opportunities. I am proud that this project will contribute to alleviating such challenges.
Ladies and Gentlemen, since my government built partnership with MRC-Holland, it has become a formidable partner, and its immense contribution to the education sector and nation building is highly appreciated.
Working with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, the Foundation started with the construction of classrooms and laboratories at the Brikama Campus of the College to ease the congestion there, before starting works at the Basse Annex.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please allow me to express gratitude of my government and the people of The Gambia to Jan and Maureen, and Madam Hendriette Sonko who serves both as the Dutch Counsellor and the Representative of the MRC-Holland Foundation in The Gambia. Madam Sonko, we thank you and your philanthropic organisation most sincerely. We encourage you to continue the good work.
To the people of Basse and its environs, I say: Thank you for providing the land to build this Annex. This contribution to national development is laudable, and will be remembered always.
For the people of the Upper River and Central River Regions in general, I implore you to embrace the opportunity provided for by this annex.
I urge you to send your children to school to feed the annex with the required number of students. It is through education that children would realise their full potentials.
I thank the donors, the governing council, management and staff of The Gambia College, through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, for working tirelessly to make this occasion possible.
For the enrolled students of this Annex, you are the pioneers and, consequently, part of the history of this Annex.
I urge you to take your studies seriously so that the motto of the college ‘Enter to Learn Ready to Serve’ will be applicable to you and the communities you served. As a government, we can build the infrastructure, but a school is not an educational institution without learners. This is why we all have a task to fulfill.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
To the people of Basse and its environs, here is your Annex. It is an educational institution you need to nurture and protect for the youth of the day and the generations to come. Governments come and go, but this legacy will continue to benefit families long after we have gone.
I urge that we give the College the utmost support to make this dream we have today to grow into fruition.
To The Gambia College Council, administrative staff and students, I must say that our partners have played their role; yours starts from here. You must make sure that the facilities are kept to the highest standards and, that, the quality of education delivered here is of the highest standard.
I urge you to continue to assert your full commitment and dedication to national service. My government will endeavour to provide you with all the support needed to sustain effective operations of this Annex.
Once again, I urge the beneficiaries of these magnificent structures to keep them in good condition so that our children and grandchildren can also use them.
I now have the singular honour and privilege to officially inaugurate this Gambia College Education Annex in Basse.
I thank you all for your kind attention.