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The unfinished business of the UTG

Apr 14, 2015, 10:22 AM

The sit-down strike of the students of the University of The Gambia (UTG) held from 26 to 31 March has ended, but the main issue that prompted the boycott of lectures is still lingering on, at least for the minority students.

All the students of the UTG – year one to four – boycotted lectures for one week in solidarity with UTG Students Union that said no student should attend classes until and unless the new grading system is scrapped.

Although there were two other demands, the main one was that a new grading system introduced by the university authorities be applied to the incoming students not to those already enrolled.

Under the old grading system, grade ‘A’ starts from 70% but the new one increases the lower limit for ‘A’ to 90%.

Earlier on, the student leaders said they made their own findings and found out that even some of the top universities in countries like Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and even the almighty America have similar grade system like the earlier one of the UTG.

This was the evidence of the protesting students calling for the resumption of the old grading system.

Surprisingly, the students union promptly called for resumption of classes after the university authorities restored the old grading systems for those in year two, three and four but not those in year one.

This development could breed some sentiment of betrayal among the year one students, as it was expected that the new grading system could be scrapped for all across the board as demanded.

Besides, even though the restoration of the grading system was the main bone of contention, the students also were demanding for a stop to the 10 per cent annual increment on the university tuition.

They also wanted to see that at least one of the university buses be allocated to transporting students coming from Brikama and the environs to the Kanifing campus.

Whilst these demands are all yet to be tackled, the year one students would have to face the challenge and pain more, for they are just beginning the journey their representatives have almost crossed.

The students union, instead of removing the thorns and filling the potholes on the road for the year one students, they seem to have been forgetting some of these.

We can deduce that the business of the university students with their authorities, with regard to their demands, is yet to be finished because of lack of unity, unison and unanimity among those who were supposed to stand for one another in the spirit of unionism.

So, even though from outside, it seems the dusk of the strike is fully settled and the problem solved, there could still be some wrangling.

Now the year one students, who are in the minority, have been left to fend for themselves and continue the unfinished business

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela