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Parliament Greenlights Conversion Of Three Tertiary Institutions Into Universities

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Hon. Pierre Gomez, Minister of Higher Education Research, Science, and Technology

By Ramatoulie Jawo

On Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the National Assembly of the Gambia gave its approval for the conversion of three tertiary institutions into universities, in accordance with the Tertiary and Higher Education Act of 2016.

The motions, presented by the Minister of Higher Education Research, Science, and Technology, included the establishment of the University of Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology. The Management Development Institute is to be transformed into a Civil Service University, and the Gambia College is to become the University of Education, all in line with the Tertiary and Higher Education Act of 2016.

While presenting the proposals, Hon. Pierre Gomez informed the National Assembly that prior to the inception of USET, technical education was limited to the tertiary level, with minimal linkage to lower levels.

“The establishment of USET is to fulfill that policy pronouncement and to ensure that technical and technology education is also given the opportunity that general education has been given in this country. Thus, USET will address the critical transformation agenda of youth empowerment by providing life-long technical skills that will adequately prepare them for the labor market, either as competent employees or job creators,” he said.

Hon. Gomez explained that USET would maintain the original technical programs offered by the former Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) and expand to include degree programs in three engineering areas sponsored by the World Bank as part of the Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence initiative.

Additionally, Hon. Gomez announced that the Cabinet approved the transformation of MDI into the Civil Service University of The Gambia.

“This initiative forms part of the government’s commitment to the nation’s long-term development, reflecting forward-thinking and strategic planning for the betterment of The Gambia. With this new drive, graduates can contribute to international knowledge exchange and collaboration, which may benefit The Gambia’s reputation and foster partnerships with overseas institutions,” he told members.

He highlighted that a key aspect of the MDI transformation is to professionalize the civil service, ensuring that entry into any cadre requires the requisite professional training to develop the necessary competencies.

Further, Hon. Gomez noted that under the Tertiary and Higher Education Act of 2016, Gambia College, in conjunction with the University of The Gambia (UTG) School of Education, will now deliver degree programs and be renamed the University of Education, The Gambia. UTG’s School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences will integrate with the Gambia College’s Schools of Nursing and Public Health, and UTG’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences will merge with the Gambia College’s School of Agriculture.

“Consequently, the new University of Education will be made up of the two Schools of Education at UTG and Gambia College and be housed at Gambia College. In contrast, UTG will house all the Medical and Allied Health Sciences and Agriculture and Environmental Science programs of both UTG and Gambia College,” he said.

Following the submission of all three proposals, the speaker of the parliament opened the floor for debate. However, all the members who participated in the debate praised the minister for his efforts to transform the higher education system in the Gambia and expressed their full support for the proposals.

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