The Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Prof. Pierre Gomez, has admitted that despite the UTG FarabaBantang campus yet to be completed, his ministry will hand it over to the management of the University of The Gambia. “Tomorrow (September 30th), we will meet the UTG Management and hand over these structures to them, and we will leave them with them. We have now fulfilled part of our mission. It is not complete yet. But we fulfill part of the mission. We will encourage them to move their classes here so that everything is done. So, that’s what we are telling them tomorrow (Saturday, September 30th),” Prof. Gomez explained in a press conference held at the campus on Friday.
According to the higher education minister, the transportation of students to the campus has been sorted out.
It would be recalled that the UTG Student Union a fortnight ago convened a press conference to vent their concerns about the new UTG campus in Faraba. Issues raised in that media engagement include water and electricity availability, locomotion challenges, and security.
However, Prof. Gomez on Friday conducted journalists on a tour of the new campus, where water dispensers were conspicuously displayed across the campus. Reporters were informed that the campus had electricity and water and that it was also fitted with CCTV cameras.
Reporters were also informed that the campus will also boast 450 computers, over 200 printers and more than 150 refrigerators.
Meanwhile, the campus has toilet facilities and its offices and auditoriums have all been air-conditioned. Ceiling fans and projectors have also been installed in the classrooms.
According to Prof. Gomez, a shortage of classrooms has affected 14% of the courses.
“It is revealed, according to the alternate timetable, that 86% of the entire courses of UTG in the 2023–2024 academic year can be managed in the available classroom facilities for now, while the remaining 14% need somewhere to conduct their lectures, and they don’t have that in Brikama now,” revealed the higher education minister.
“So if we do not act now, it means, as per their data, it means 14% don’t have lectures, and then even from that, 80 something percent or 86%… Some will end up not having lectures because you go there, then you find Gambia College using them. So, the next thing is to go out and have your lectures under a tree, or you cancel the lectures. That has quality assurance implications,” he added.
The minister pointed out that the Faraba Banta campus is commodious and will provide a hassle-free environment for students.
He explained: “Here (Faraba campus), you don’t share even the schools; the majority of them will not share classrooms. This, where we are, is exclusively for the School of Education. You have the School of Arts and Science there. You’ve seen the School of Business and Public Administration, you’ve seen the School of ITC on their own. It means that when they come here, there will be some classrooms that will be empty because they won’t need them. But we are building for the future, and that’s why they have these structures,” the minister.”
Meanwhile, the Faraba campus hosts the schools of education, Information Technology, Arts and Sciences, and Business and Public Administration.