As part of its educational transformation agenda, the Government of The Gambia has set the ground for the establishment of a new university of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology. The University of Applied Science Engineering and Technology (USET) is situated in Brikama, West Coast Region.
The new University project’s foundation stone was laid on Saturday, July 30th, by His Excellency President Adama Barrow at a ceremony held in Brikama.
In his address at the event, the President affirmed that the initiative forms part of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology’s educational transformation agenda, which aims at revamping tertiary and higher education institutions to reputable world-class standards.
He said, as opposed to what obtained in the past when only a selected few had access to higher education, “the education system in the country now provides pathways that allow students from grade nine to choose careers in Vocational Education and Training”. As a result, expanding such opportunities has made it necessary to establish a university system of applied science engineering and technology; hence, the significance of the occasion.
The President went on to express optimism that the Emerging Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Engineering for Entrepreneurship (STEE) will help the education sector to deliver degree programmes that will groom skilled job creators through entrepreneurship, which in turn, will avail the youth with practical knowledge on how to address developmental challenges.
“The new University of Science, Engineering and Technology provides an opportunity for students who desire to become engineers and architects to proceed beyond the Higher National Diploma (HND) level, to pursue degrees in engineering and related disciplines,” H.E. Barrow said.
Similarly, President Barrow endorsed MoHERST’s transformation plan to integrate three schools of The Gambia College into the University of The Gambia. In the same way, he endorsed the Management Development Institute’s transformation to offer degree programmes, and the transformation of the School of Education of Gambia College, into a Teacher Education University.
He also recognised Vice President Badara A. Joof for pioneering the policy direction; the Minister of MoHERST Professor Pierre Gomez and team for their commitment towards the implementation of the project; World Bank for the foresight in designing a programme linked to Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) initiative to influence development positively; and Association of African Universities (AAU) for their excellent partnership.
The Permanent Secretary of MoHERST, Dr Yusupha Touray, who was Master of Ceremony, informed the gathering that the Ministry is also working with other development partners to construct faculties to house additional programmes, such as Chemical Engineering, Architecture and Fine Arts, Computer Science, etc.
In his remark, the Governor of Brikama, West Coast Region, thanked the government of The Gambia for choosing Brikama to build the USET Campus. He said the initiative would bring myriads of opportunities to the community and country at large.
With this initiative, The Gambia is now part of 53 centres of excellence under the ACE Impact Project. ACE is sponsoring three faculties of the USET Campus. These are Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering.
FENTA Consulting Architects has been contracted to supervise the first phase's construction and develop a master plan for the university.