Under the invitation of the President of the Higher Education Commission (YÖK) of the Republic of Türkiye, the Honourable Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez, recently concluded an official trip to the Republic of Türkiye from the 1st – 6th of May, 2023.
The Hon Minister was accompanied by his Permanent Secretary, Dr Yusupha Touray, The Director of Science, Technology, and Innovation of MoHERST, Mr Samba Sowe; Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia, Professor Herbert Samuel Robinson; and Senior Lecturer, School of Agriculture & Environmental Science, UTG, Dr Mamma Sawaneh.
During his visit, the Minister and his delegation met with YÖK, the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA) and similarly held bilateral meetings with universities and Gambian students studying in Türkiye.
Successful meetings were conducted between the Hon. Minister’s Team and the Rectors and officials of Istanbul University, Ankara University, Middle East Technical University, Karadeniz Technical University, Yunus Emre Institute and Maarif Foundation. The delegation was hosted by YÖK and had fruitful areas of collaboration outlined between the two sectors of Tertiary and Higher Education and scientific research. The delegation also conducted meetings with Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA) and the officials responsible for Turkiye Scholarships (YTB).
Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs were signed between the Ministry and YÖK and between the Institutions visited and UTG. More agreements will be signed between these institutions and the University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET) as well. The areas of collaboration between the institutions involved:
- Capacity building/training of faculty staff of universities from The Gambia, specifically at masters and PhD in relevant areas. This will also include training in the Fisheries and Agribusiness disciplines in preparation for establishing TVET centres in these areas. Offers were also made in biotechnology and the physical and natural sciences.
- Joint and collaborative research work, particularly in the aquatic sciences.
- Academic exchange programmes.
- Sharing of journal resources with the Gambia’s academic community.
- Support in setting out science labs for UTG. There will also be support for USET providing relevant information and expertise regarding setting up an innovation and entrepreneurship lab, including details on designs and equipment requirements. And the innovation and entrepreneurship hub.
- Ten scholarships to be awarded to Gambians in masters and PhD in fisheries and engineering.
The Ministerial visit was successful as it brought about concrete agreements centred around scholarships and partnerships that will help address the skills and capacity gaps and respond to the tertiary and higher education transformation agenda that MoHERST is spearheading in line with the development aspirations of The Gambia.
The agreements reached, and the scholarships secured will be pursued by a proposed Technical Committee through the supervision of MoHERST, YOK and TIKA, and the follow-up and liaison activities of the Gambian Embassy in Turkiye.