By Landing Ceesay
The President of the Republic of the Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow, said the country cannot wait to see its first home-grown engineers graduate.
“We are eager, and cannot wait, to graduate our first home-grown engineers who are able and ready to move and provide solutions to local and international industries. This is a vision I share with all of my colleagues in West Africa and Djibouti. Together, we are optimistic key beneficiaries of the ACE Impact Project,” the Gambian President said.President Barrow made these remarks while presiding over the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Project Steering Committee Meeting and the 8th Regional Workshop of the ACE Impact-Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact.
President Barrow stressed that the Gambia’s education reform endeavours will put high emphasis on hands-on education and training.
In furtherance of this agenda, the president emphasized, that his government, through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, is setting up regional skills centers with the required accompanying curriculum for technical education and training.
President Barrows said besides strengthening the existing tertiary institutions, they are committed to expanding opportunities in the Applied Sciences at the new University of Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (USET).
“Incidentally, this workshop is organized at a time when my government is making concerted efforts to transform our higher education system through reforms that would put the youth at the forefront of national development. Specific to the ACE Project, The Gambia is working towards establishing a full-fledged Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, and Engineering for Entrepreneurship. The purpose for this focus is obvious; we need adequate human capital that is equipped with entrepreneurial mindsets to match our development strides and aspirations,” President Barrow told the leaders of Higher Education in Africa.The Gambian President further said Through this project, they can lay a solid foundation for this new university, focusing primarily on the emerging Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, and Engineering for Entrepreneurship.
President Barrow stated that It is gratifying and quite reassuring that, already, USET has enrolled two cohorts of students in electrical, electronic, civil, and mechanical engineering. He added that entrepreneurship training is also an integral part of the curriculum in each of these disciplines.
He said the ongoing PhD training and mentorship of Gambians, which is part of the project, is a step in the right direction. And that, among other things, it ensures the sustainability of the much-desired administrative and leadership roles that USET has to fulfill.
“Higher education is a critical factor for development. For this reason, I am convinced that the discussions that will be held during the workshop will provide realistic recommendations and solutions to the current health, economic, and food-security challenges of our respective countries. I must reiterate that the continent relies heavily on you, the academics, researchers, and policymakers, to pave the way for a better Africa. As such, I entreat you to regard higher education as an investment,” he said.The Ministerial Project Steering Committee Meeting and the 8th Regional Workshop of the ACE Impact-Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact commenced on November, 14th and would run up to the 18th of November 2022.