By Landing Ceesay
The President of the Republic of the Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow, has called for the prioritisation of entrepreneurship in the country’s education system.
“My government recognises that entrepreneurs are essential for economic growth, wealth creation, and employment. Indeed, entrepreneurship can play a huge role in combating the global crises that slow down progress. This is more so if entrepreneurial efforts are combined with public-private partnership, which is critical for sustainable development in developing countries. COVID-19 evidently exposed the need for innovation. It is necessary, therefore, to prioritise entrepreneurship education in the curriculum of higher education institutions,” he said.
The Gambian President made these remarks at the 15th convocation of the University of the Gambia.
President Barrow further stated that the Ministry, through the Accreditation Authority, should champion the required shift of repositioning higher education as a transformative tool for change and development.
President Barrow urged the Higher Education Ministry to sign performance contracts with all public tertiary and higher education institutions in the country to ensure that the education they provide is relatively suitable.
The Gambian President challenged the institutions to do away with learning approaches that are not “effective enough for this day and age.”
“Let us believe that investing in entrepreneurship education can create a culture of innovation that re-orients the youths better.
With this in mind, effective entrepreneurship education policies are vital for emerging economies to empower the people with appropriate knowledge and skills for business development.
“I invite our development partners and friends to support my government in promoting TVET education in The Gambia. With adequate support, the needs and aspirations of the youths could be effectively addressed and the rural-urban drift and illegal international migration considerably minimised,” Barrow said.
President Barrow said his government is focused on transforming the higher education system through reforms that put the youths at the forefront of national development.
The Gambian Leader said a vital aspect of the reform strategy is laying emphasis on hands-on education and training for enhanced learning and skills development.
President Barrow said his government is building a Centre of Excellence for Entrepreneurship, setting up regional TVET centres, and encouraging positive radical educational curricular reviews and development.
“Entrepreneurship is an acknowledged agent of change for sustainable development. On account of this, the youths need to be encouraged to become innovative entrepreneurs. If they grow with entrepreneurial mindsets, they will develop new business development and growth ideas. This would lead to independent, self-confident, innovative, and creative youths.
“Youths with these endowments can surely create jobs, bridge the unemployment gap, and contribute positively towards the socio-economic transformation of The Gambia, while solving crucial societal challenges through their enterprising ventures,” President Barrow.
The University of the Gambia graduated about 1, 300 students from different schools within the country’s highest learning institute.