By Ramatoulie Jawo
President Adama Barrow laid the foundation stone of the University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET) in Brikama.
Speaking at the event, His Excellency President Adama Barrow said in the past only a selected few had access to higher education in the Gambia.
He added through the National Qualifications Framework, the education system now provides pathways that allow students from Grade 9th to choose careers in the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and other educational programmes.
“Expanding such opportunities has made it necessary to establish a university system in the Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology; hence, the significance of the occasion,” he said.
He further said from now on, students who choose to become engineers and architects can proceed beyond the Higher National Diploma (HND) level to pursue degree programmes in Engineering and related disciplines at the USET.
Barrow thanked the World Bank for the foresight of designing a programme linked to the Africa Centre of Excellence (ACE) initiative to positively influence development.
“The reality is that Africa must depend on its institutions to develop her human resource and stimulate economic growth and development,” the head of state said.
He urged the public to encourage their children, especially the girls to enrol in the University for the Engineering and other STEM programmes.
“In this way, they will contribute to achieving our national development aspirations, ” he continued.
Babucarr Semica Janneh of FANTA Cousultant Architects thanked the President for giving him the opportunity to design the first phase of the project.
“It’s good that the President (Barrow) is supporting Gambian businesses, which is very good because it will encourage the citizens to invest in their country,” he said.
He assured President Barrow that he would deliver to expectation.
Ousman Bojang, Governor of West Coast Region expressed his happness to development.
He said the people of West Coast Region are very grateful about the construction of the university in their region.
“I advised the residents of Brikama, therefore, to make good use of the job opportunities that will accompany the project and prepare their children for the proposed knowledge hub,” he said.
Professor Sam, a senior consultant of USET said it is certain that after the construction of the University, students and lecturers would have enough space and facilities that would make teaching and learning effective and efficient.
He recognized the support of partners such as the World Bank towards the transformation of GTTI/USET into an emerging centre of excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship – (STEE).