The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, through the Youth Empowerment through TVET in The Gambia project, funded by KOICA, with technical support from UNESCO, has successfully completed three components. These include; the development and approval of a TVET Policy; provision of modern industry standard equipment for The University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology and its outreach centres; and strengthening of the Education Management Information System (EMIS).
According to the Hon. Minister of Higher Education, Professor Pierre Gomez, the development of a highly qualified intellectual capital from our educational institutions at all levels specifically Technical and Vocational Education and Training, must commensurate with the quality of the mechanisms, processes and products that are in place in these institutions. As a result, Hon. Gomez remarked that if institutions want to deliver on their mandate, the need to put in place a state-of-the-art infrastructure, up-to-date data management systems as well as appropriate human and material resources cannot be questioned; thus, he describes the project as both timely and apt.
The ceremony was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of MoHERST, Dr. Yusupha Touray, who took participants on a memory lane of where it all started. He reminded participants that from 2017, the Ministry came up with a transformation agenda and four key issues came up. These include; the transformation of GTTI into USET; The upgrading of MDI to offer degree programs; the turning of Gambia College School of Education into an Education University; thus, having schools of public health nursing and Agriculture at the College integrate into the University of The Gambia’s Schools of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Public and Environmental Health and Agriculture. So far, the transformation of GTTI into USET has already been achieved and a National Policy to guide the governance of TVET in The Gambia developed. Thus, the occasion, he said, marks a significant day for not only USET but the entire TVET fraternity in The Gambia.
For Hon. Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Claudiana Cole, TVET is important for the development of any country and it starts at the Basic and Secondary School level. Which is why, she stated, MoBSE has a huge stake in the handover ceremony and the promotion of TVET in the country.
In his statement, the UNESCO Representative, Pieume Calice Olivier, said that UNESCO Dakar renews commitment to The Gambia Government, through the Youth Empowerment Project in The Gambia. The project, he said, has the objective of creating an enabling environment that will give young people especially girls, a better chance of obtaining decent employment and entrepreneurship by providing them with livelong opportunities as outlined in SDG 4 and 8. Thus, since the official launch of the project in 2018, UNESCO and KOICA have been working in close partnership with The Gambia government through MoHERST and other stakeholders to improve the knowledge and capacity of the TVET sector.
For Dongrib KIM, Deputy representative, KOICA, the Government of The Gambia is one of the important partners to the Republic of Korea and KOICA. In this regard, several projects are being implemented in the country. Mr. Kim went on to encourage the youth of The Gambia to strive harder in the acquisition of knowledge and professional skills since their success in the future and that of the country depends solely on their will and determination.
Later on, participants at the handover ceremony were taken on a conducted tour led by MoHERST to different laboratories whereby students made demonstrations of the newly purchased 3D printers and computer desktops. A presentation on the use of the Education Information Management (EMIS) was also carried out and an official handover of the National TVET Policy.
Giving the vote of thanks, Cecilia Jaw a student of USET, expressed gratitude to MoHERST and partners for the computers and laboratory equipment and she assured that they will be put to good use.