Sep 10, 2015, 9:45 AM
Ansumana Bojang, the newly-elected president of the University of The Gambia Students’ Union (UTGSU), has said top on his agenda is the establishment of a scholarship trust fund.
The UTG Scholarship Trust Fund will be established to help students who are not on any scholarship and find it difficult to pay their university tuition.
Mr Bojang said the fund is to be established aware of the fact that although The Gambia government and other agencies give scholarship to UTG students, there are a lot more others without scholarship.
“Some of such students are at risk of being sent out of the university or denied to sit to examinations for non-payment of tuition,” he said in an interview with The Point newspaper on Friday at the UTG Kanifing campus.
“This is why, as an executive council, we want to establish the trust fund, and any revenue generated through the fund will be given to needy students as soft loans to register their courses for a semester.It will be a resolving scheme whereby beneficiaries of the loan will be expected to pay back a semester after it was given to them for other guys to also benefit.”
Mr Bojang said the establishment of the trust fund was his key campaign message during the buildup to the election.Apparently, students bought into the idea as he won with 57.63 per cent of the total votes cast in the election.
He said part of the avenues his executive council is exploring to raise fund for the trust fund is a gala dinner where institutions, private and public, as well as individuals and friends of the UTG will be invited to support the initiative.
“Fundraising is not something difficult.But what is most important is how you are able to draw the concept to convince people to support the initiative you are calling for.
“The establishment of the trust fund is feasible and doable.All that is needed is the support of the students and the UTG administration to make it happen.”
Sanitation is also top
The UTGSU president said his council recently conducted a tour of the facilities of the university, and the burning issue they came to realise was the issue of sanitation.
“Sanitation is a major problem in the UTG, in almost all the campuses, particularly at the School of Arts and Sciences in Brikama, and the Kanifing campus,” President Bojang said.
He explained that the council is currently working on ways and means to raise the needed funds to start to work on the sanitation facilities in earnest.
“We do not want the students to come next semester and find the university in the same condition as they left it, in terms of sanitation,” Bojang affirmed.
Union’s current state
The internal handing over from the outgoing executive to the new council has been done on 27 April.The new president said his council, after the handing over, had assessed the state of the union and were able to verify everything stated in the handing over notes.
“From the assessment, the union is in good standing,” he said.
Mr Bojang said he is aware that his one-year term may not be a bed of roses; there are bound to be challenges and scepticism here and there.
“There are lots of sceptics, people who doubt my administration, and they are also doing everything possible to make sure that most of the things I promised students are not realised,” the new UTGSU president said.
“But what I tell students is that now that election is over, we should come together as a team and work together to move the university forward.
“What every genuine student of the university should be asking is, ‘how do we work together to make the UTG a better place’ not to sit behind to say they have elected so and so, but let us see what they would do.”
Mr Bojang said by the time he hands over the baton of the UTGSU presidency next year, the legacy he wants to leave behind is the scholarship trust fund.
He said: “The trust fund is at the core of my agenda because, as I said, it is heart-breaking to see your colleagues being sent out of the examination hall because they could not pay their tuition.So when the executive council, under my leadership, is able to minimise that through establishing a trust fund, I think that will be the biggest legacy.”
“I always quote from Nelson Mandela who said, ‘what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, but how we were able to change the life of the ordinary people’”.
The scholarship trust fund, Mr Bojang said, will be able to change the lives of many students who could be sent out of the university for not been able to pay their tuition.
“So the council will strike hard to establish the scholarship trust fund, and with the support of the students and the university administration, it is possible.”