Wednesday, February 1

Gambian educationist honoured in Kenya

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Madam Jahou Samba Faal is the secretary general of the Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (ATUPA), formerly the Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Previously, Madam Faal served as the director general of the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI). During her tenure at GTTI she played a pivotal role in initiating the upgrading of the Institute to a University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology. The Technical University of Kenya recognises her contribution in the promotion of TVET which started from her role as a Trainer in Business Studies, rising to Education Administration as head of department and subsequently as director general of the Gambia Technical Training Institute for many years. During this period, the strategic vision of GTTI was revised to capture the currency of skills trends, changing labour market requirements and the evolving development priorities of successive governments.

In recognition of this, Madam Faal as the director general of GTTI implemented the expansion of GTTI national geographic footprint from one region to three regions. The purpose was to bridge the TVET access and equity gap between the urban and rural youth, as well as the gender participation gap, which had remained very wide in favour of males.

Madam Faal is a champion of TVET and has played a major role in its promotion in Africa. She joined ATUPA with vast experience in TVET. As an active member of the CAPA Executive Board, Madam Faal has made outstanding contributions in the CAPA activities. In January 2019, she earned the appointment as the first female secretary general of CAPA since its inception in 1978.  She has since spearheaded the successful transformation of CAPA to ATUPA and is now leading ATUPA into working with the African Union towards the realisation of Agenda 2063.

Further to this, she led the formation of the first ever Community of Practice (COP) on Employability and Entrepreneurship Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This programme was initiated by Madam Faal and supported by GIZ. It led to the development of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in four components of employability skills course concentrations. The main outcome of the youth employability skills initiative was the emergence of a working paper that produced the first Africa-focused definition of employability skills. The OERs were made available to millions of African youth via the Atingi and ASPYEE portals. This was the first time in the African continent’s history that effort was galvanised to provide this scale of access to digital learning contents for African youth.

Madam Faal appreciates the role of Women in TVET and has entrenched Women in Technical Education and Development (WITED) initiative at the institutional and national levels in ATUPA member countries and in over two hundred institutions across the continent. The feedback that is emerging is that this is creating the platform for the voices of female participants in TVET in Africa. The Gambia WITED Chapter is to be launched later this year.

Madam Faal holds undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Education from the University of The Gambia, and University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom, respectively.