May 17, 2011, 4:13 PM
United States acting Public Affairs officer yesterday met with the Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia to discuss various programmes offered by both the UTG and the US universities, and the way forward in implementing those programmes for both institutions to benefit.
Speaking at the meeting held at the Faculty of Law seminar hall in Kanifing, Prof. Muhammed M.O. Kah, Vice Chancellor of UTG, said some of the students from the US can also come to the UTG on exchange visits under various programmes, as well as programmes they could host in UTG that would benefit US students, such as languages, culture and other areas of interest.
He said US students go all over the world on exchange students programmes in various universities, and UTG would certainly want to see that enhanced in their working relationship.
The US Embassy could help in the strengthening of the existence of the UTG as a very good destination, offering quality education and safe place for students across the US to visit.
Prof Kah said the UTG is being increasingly engaged with top universities in joint educational proposals and programmes.
They received proposals from US fellows who want to come to the UTG, but their only frustration is that Gambia is not part of the Fulbright programmes which they want the US embassy to help them with, he added.
It has been six years and they are still pleading with the US Embassy so The Gambia could be part of the Fulbright programme, he added.
He said the other element, which they had not benefited from, is the AID programme and he could not understand why as a university they could not benefit from it.
The relationship they have with US institutions “is quiet valuable”, Prof Kah said.
Thom Hull, acting US Public Affairs officer, said the US government operates a number of academic and research programmes.
He said they have learnt from Johnson’s experience and moved forward on it as well develop other programmes.
He also said they have several English programmes, and called on UTG to see how best they could utilize such programmes.
He added that they are working on two areas: education and media regulation in which they groom young journalists.
The US Embassy official further said they have a lot of programmes UTG students could learn and benefit from.
They could also go to the American Corner to learn more about the programmes, he added.
Michael Johnson, the First US Fellow to UTG North Bank Campus, in his remarks said his experience with the nine students at the North Bank campus in Farafenni was “great”, because the students are “eager to learn”, and are also intelligent.
One of the challenges faced by the students, he noted, was theydid not have background education on climate, adding that it would have been easier had they had a little background education on climate.
Farafenni Campus is nice, but the challenge is that the electricity supply is a problem, he continued, and that it would also be good if the UTG should engage in solar energy rather than relying on generators.
“Solar energy has so much potential,” he said.