Participants and officials at the 3 days validation training.
By Landing Ceesay
Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) began a three-day curriculum validation for its Agri-Food Processing and Packaging program. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission and the German development agency GIZ are sponsoring the three-day validation workshop to review and validate the proposed curriculum for Agri-Food Processing and Packaging.
Mr. Dawda Ceesay, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, said that the participants’ presence at the workshop to validate the curriculum is a sign of their “unwavering commitment” to the growth and development of the agri-food sector, and by extension, the tourism and hospitality sector in The Gambia.
PS Ceesay said that the workshop is a testament to the collective efforts of all involved in shaping the future of tourism education and training in the country.
“We are here to validate and refine the curricula that will shape the minds and skills of the next generation of hospitality professionals, ensuring that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and expertise to excel in this dynamic industry. The visionary leadership and dedication of the Honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture have been instrumental in fostering a culture of excellence and innovation at the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute. Under his guidance, the Institute has flourished, providing top-notch education, and producing competent graduates who contribute significantly to the growth of our tourism sector,” he said. Tourism Permanent Secretary (PS) Ceesay told participants that it is crucial to acknowledge the changing landscape of the global tourism industry. He said that in order to stay ahead of the curve, tourism stakeholders must adapt and embrace new trends, technologies, and best practices.
“Throughout the next three days, I encourage all participants to engage in fruitful discussions, share their expertise, and challenge each other’s ideas. It is through open dialogue and constructive criticism that we can refine our curriculum, ensuring that it is comprehensive, relevant, and aligned with the needs of the industry,” he told the participants.
Momodou Lamin Singhateh, the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI), said the validation of the agriculture and food processing curriculum is a journey that holds great promise for the future of the country’s agriculture and food processing sectors.
DG Singhateh said the validation workshop marks a critical milestone in GTHI’s continuous efforts to enhance the quality of education and training in agri-food processing. He said the institute is committed to equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in this vital industry.
“We recognize that the agri-food processing sector plays a pivotal role in the economic development of The Gambia. By adding value to our agricultural produce through processing and innovation, we can generate employment
opportunities, increase exports, build linkages with tourism, and ultimately improve the livelihoods of our citizens. Therefore, it is imperative that we have a curriculum that is robust, relevant, and aligned with the needs of the industry.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our partners in this project – Namely the GIZ, and ECOWAS commission for providing the financial and material support without which this would not have been possible. Also, to the experts, professionals, and stakeholders who have dedicated their time and expertise to contribute to this curriculum validation process,” he said. DG Singhateh told the participants that their insights and industrial experience are essential to shaping the future of agri-food processing education in the country. He said that by working together, they can ensure that the curriculum prepares students to be at the forefront of technological advancements, sustainability practices, and market demands.
“Your hard work, attention to detail, and commitment to excellence have laid the foundation for a successful event. As we embark on this journey of curriculum validation, I am confident that together, we will create a curriculum that not only imparts technical knowledge and skills but also instils a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable practices. Our goal is to produce graduates who can drive positive change, contribute to the growth of our agri-food processing industry, and become ambassadors of The Gambia’s culinary heritage,” he said.
In his remarks, El Hadji Amath Niasse, Head of the Curriculum Developers, said the Agri-food processing and packaging curriculum is not only for the Gambia and Senegal but for the whole of Africa.