The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) conducted a three-day sector retreat which brought together key Staff of the Ministry and representatives from four of its satellite institutions.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the purpose of the retreat was to bring together Staff and line institutions for them to be aware of projects, programs, and developments of the Ministry.
Line institutions that were present include the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA), University of The Gambia (UTG), Gambia College, Management Development Institute (MDI) and Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI). Also in attendance was the Project Coordination Unit (PUC).
In his opening remark, the PS gave an overview of institutional transformations the ministry is working on. He informed participants that GTTI has already been transformed into a University of Science, Engineering and Technology (USET), with its first badge of 47 students currently enrolled. Also, USET is receiving mentorship from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and De Montfort University. Notwithstanding, current certificate and diploma programs of GTTI will still continue. MDI, he said will likewise be ungraded to a degree awarding institute as part of the Ministry’s transformation agenda. He emphasized that this degree awarding institute will be different from a university.
Furthermore, the retreat saw presentations from the four directorates under MoHERST namely, the directorates of Tertiary and Higher Education - Science Technology and Innovation – Research – Planning, Budget, and Policy Analysis, five-line institutions and PCU.
Firstly, the Director of Tertiary and Higher Education gave a detailed explanation of different projects under his department. The construction of Ndemban Skill Centre, which is financially supported by the International Trade Centre (ITC), and Kanilai Skills Centre were identified as two of many projects. According to him, the centres will aim at bridging existing gaps when it comes to skills education in The Gambia. Their operationalization is scheduled for September 2021.
Secondly, the Director of Research in his presentation, informed that the National Research Policy (NRP) document is complete and awaits validation. According to the Director, the NRP emanated from the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2021. As a result, a National Research Board (NRB) shall be constituted and the Honorable Minister of MoHERST has the power to identify board members.
Thirdly, the Director of Science, Technology, and Innovation, gave a rundown of the previous projects and future plans of his department. As per future plans, the digital transformation of the Ministry’s records office was identified as a necessity. Similarly, a digital capacity building for Staff was mentioned as part of plans tabled out by the Director.
Subsequently, the Director of Planning, Budget and Policy Analysis commented on the Educational Management Information System (EMIS) Database platform which was developed by InSist Global. The EMIS, he said, will serve as an effective data base system that will ease data collections from the Ministry and institutions under its purview. According to the Director, The EMIS database has been validated and pretested, InSist Global is working on documentation and handing over.
The gathering ended with interactive questions and answers. Concerns raised were discussed and solutions identified.
For Doctor Sanyang, Director of Research at UTG, the retreat was timely and essential. He went on to recognize the government’s commitment in ensuring Tertiary and Higher Education is well provided for.