Monday, June 17, 2024

Transforming the higher education sector: Prof. Gomez says TVET tops priorities

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

The Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Honourable professor Pierre Gomez, has highlighted that Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) is the higher education sector’s utmost priority as the ministry seeks to transform the country’s higher education system by providing skills development training and functional education to Gambian youths.

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TVET education has been top of the higher education’s agenda as they roll on shifting tertiary education into skills education that is aimed at changing the development trajectory of the country.

“We have to do our homework. This is a homework where TVET is given the priority of all priorities because we have a country where 60 to 66 per cent of the population are youths, and these are the people who every day will tell you that: ‘I don’t have hope in my village,’” he told the stakeholders as he emphasized on skill’s education to Gambian youths.

Speaking further at a donor conference at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Conference Center in Bijilo, where the Ministry and its relevant stakeholders gathered in a day-long meeting to discuss and finalise financing higher education in the Gambia, the honourable minister noted that since the country gained its independence, it still cannot produce home-grown engineers that can build roads.

“Significant investment in higher education wasn’t done. That is why we are where we are today. In 2023, we are yet to produce one home-grown engineer. How can we build roads?

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“How can you build the airport when you cannot, after 57 years of your independence, produce one home-grown engineer?

“Therefore, we need to do our homework. The homework is homework that is anchored on higher education,” he told the gathering.

The former acting vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia emphasized that his ministry is committed to solving the skill development problems in the Gambia by training youths in technical and vocational education. He said with skills, young people will stay in the country and play their roles in its development.

The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, over the last months laid the foundation of TVET educational institutions in the provincial Gambia. This is in addition to the transformation of the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) into the University of Applied Science, where the country is expected to train Gambians in engineering and other related skills.

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