By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MOHERST) on Monday presented its High Education Financing strategy to relevant stakeholders.
MOHERST made the presentation at a day-long round table meeting with relevant stakeholders at the Sir Dawda Kairaba International Conference Center in Bijilo.
The Conference brought together different organization representatives, Ministries, and Experts from around the globe to provide them with the opportunity to enter into deeper discussions on the High Education Financing.
The roundtable also provided the opportunity for stakeholders to present on various topics about High Education Financing.
In his remarks, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon. Seedy Keita, talked about the importance of High Education in developing the human capital in a country.
“As we all know, Higher Education is one of the key pillars to developing the human capital of the country. And the way we go about this will represent and reflect the commitment of the government to this very important capital formation process. This way, the government left no stone unturned by providing generous scholarship packages to enable Gambians to be able to their Higher Education in the country.
“We are pleased that this has witnessed significant strive and achievements. Now we have seen several Gambians graduating in diverse fields from, General Education, and Teachers Training to Degree Programs, the School of Law from the University of the Gambia, and even Medical School. And that was not a means for which was realized through general support of the government and donor partners,” he said.
The Minister further recognized the support that the Gambia government is receiving from its donor partners.
“Our Recognition continues to be placed at the doorstep of this valuable partner who has come a long way in supporting the government endeavor. But given the Centrality of Financing Higher Education, this cannot be left to the Public Sector alone. That is why the theme of this meeting today cannot be more apt on how we can work together, and brainstorm to Finance Higher Education,” he added.
The Minister of Higher Education Prof. Pierre Gomez highlighted the importance of the Higher Education sector.
“I always said that education is the road to freedom. Education liberates the individual, and education gives people sustainable development. I provoked the audience last time; I said you will be wasting your time if you don’t invest in Higher Education for 57 good years. We have been using different approaches, but significant investment in Higher Education has not been made. That is why we are where we are today in 2023. We are yet to produce one homegrown engineer”
“How can you build roads, how can you build airports, how can you build other structures? After 57 years of independence, you can’t produce one homegrown engineer. Therefore, we need to do our homework. The homework that is anchored on Education, Higher Education for that matter,” Prof. Gomez said.
Prof. Gomez further talked about the importance of TVET education. Saying 60℅ or so of the population In the Gambia are youth.
Prof. Gomez added that the youth should be given skills to stay in their own country. In addition, he said youths should have the knowledge, set skills to take charge of their destiny and build their nation
Currently, the tertiary and Higher Education Sector in The Gambia is going through some transformation that requires human and institutional capacity development.
At the policy level, the Ministry has finalized a Strategic Plan (2021 – 2025) that focuses on access, equity, quality, relevance, scientific research and technological development, and sector management as programmatic areas of intervention.
Along the sides of this policy document and in line with the decentralization drive, the TVET Policy has been developed to provide opportunities for skills acquisition and training for all works of life in all administrative regions of the country.
In enhancing the attainment of these policies, a Higher Education Financing Strategy has been developed and earmarked for legislation. The strategy is expected to bring about innovative financing of Higher Education, for which donor support will also be needed.