Feb 1, 2016, 11:07 AM
The joint session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises committees (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly, yesterday deferred consideration of the University of The Gambia’s annual activity report and financial statement, upon the request of the board members.
Speaking before deputies, the acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Mustapha Ibrahim Abdoulie Khalil, told the committees that he would like to apologise for the absence of the chairman of the council and the Minister for Higher Education.
“I assumed duty as acting Vice Chancellor of the UTG in 2015 and the presentation supposed to be for the year 2015, so I think you will now understand this period I was not in control of the university,” he said.
He said that when the former Vice Chancellor left office and he assumed as acting Vice Chancellor, he did find a very difficult task, especially regarding the rules and regulations.
“We have conditions of service and this service has not been followed for some time and getting it back created a lot of problems,” he said.
“I consulted our immediate staff and we have recommended to appointing DBC academic to help us in academic matters in addition to the DBC administration matters,” the UTG Vice Chancellor said.
He also said currently some of the lapses have been corrected, as one of the shortcomings in the previous records was that the university senate was not meeting regularly, but they “are now meeting regularly every month” and the senate had also assumed its full academic responsibility.
He also said many staff of the UTG were kept without promotion for the past years, but they are looking at the regulations and people are now applying according to the rules and regulations and conditions of service.
“We got a promotion of six associate professors in the university, which never happened before in the history of the university,” he said. “The university now has six associate professors since 2015.”
“All this is very important and the council is regularly meeting because of the allegation that ‘the council doesn’t meet regularly’.”
He added: “We have corrected some of the very impending and crucial issues and this is not easy though, we have to go through the conditions of service and the rules and regulations,” he said.
They meet every week with their principal officers and “this is the team that works and takes consensus decisions on various issues” of the university, he said.
According to the UTG vice Chancellor, time is running against him and he would need more time so he could discuss everything on the academic aspects, which concerns him.
He said the enrollment at the university had also increased, unlike five years ago when it was less than one thousand students. Now, he stated, they have about two thousand students and the number of staff had also increased, as well as the number of academic staff going on scholarships for masters and doctorate degrees.
In response, the deputy Speaker, Hon. Fatou Mbye, told the university board members that they appreciated the fact that the new council and its interim council and management are doing all it takes within the powers of the members to transform the university, according to the objective of the President, to be a world-class university.
“I want to propose to the request to defer them to a later date, but with the condition that the university will come with all the outstanding reports and the annual activity reports and the audited financial statement of up to 2015,” the deputy Speaker said.
The PAC/PEC committee agreed to re-schedule receiving the UTG team at another session, but on condition that the university would update the committees on all the years from 2012-2015, which was also agreed to by the university board members present.