A delegation from the Higher Education Council (YÖK) of the Republic of Türkiye conducted a two-day technical committee visit to the Republic of The Gambia. This was from the 24th to the 25th of July, 2023.
The visit was as a result of a visit in May 2023 by the Honourable Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez, to the Republic of Türkiye, to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two sister countries in the area of human capital development. As part of the recommendations during the Ministerial visit, the two sides agreed to establish a Technical Committee for the implementation of the agreements, which included scholarships and other partnership agreements.
Members of the visiting delegation included representatives from the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Rectors and Vice-Rectors of Ankara University, Middle East Technical University, Karadeniz Technical University and Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University.
At the opening ceremony of the working session on Monday, 24th July 2023, Hon. Professor Pierre Gomez highlighted the significance of this partnership.
“Through this partnership, we envisaged the provision of scholarships in relevant national development areas; strengthened TVET and general education in post-secondary institutions, and promoted research and innovation activities such as entrepreneurship, industry collaboration and product development, thereby increasing employability and job creation, which will eventually lead to sound socio-economic development,” Hon. Gomez said.
Furthermore, he informed that the Ministry’s recent acquisition of two sites in the Central River Region of the country; one multi-purpose and another focusing on agri-business, is a “game changer” that should address rural-urban and international irregular migration while also providing opportunities to tackle the food self-sufficiency challenge in The Gambia.
“The Technical Committee will examine some of these issues and recommend solutions for our decades-old challenges. The Agri-business Centre will train young people in the food production value chain. It will cover the business components of plant and animal production and agricultural mechanisation for self-employability,” Hon. Gomez stated.
For Prof. Naci Gundogan, Executive Board Member of The Turkish Council on Higher Education, the convening of the meeting reflects the excellent relations between the two countries.
“The Turkish President, His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and The Gambian President His Excellency Adama Barrow have a joint political determination to further these relations, as they have expressed during their state visits to the Republic of Turkiye in 2018 and in the Republic of The Gambia in 2020, respectively,” Prof Naci stated, that they would like to discuss with MoHERST the topics on how to concretize the relations in the field of higher education.
Prof Naci went on to state that there are 308 Gambian students studying in various fields, especially in social sciences, at Turkish universities and thus, hope to host more students from the Gambia.
After the official opening, the Technical Committee meeting began and the following presentations were made: National TVET Policy 2021 – 2025, TVET and STEM in Madrassa Education, Fisheries TVET Centre, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education, Gambia College Transformation, MDI Transformation, UTG Food Science Laboratory Proposal and GTMI Technical Support. Later, there was a question-and-answer session whereby participants engaged in an interactive discussion on the presented topics.