University of the Gambia, Faraba Campus
By Landing Ceesay
The Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez, has announced that the Faraba Bantang Campus of the University of the Gambia will be transferred to the management of the school on Saturday, September 30, 2023.
“Tomorrow (Saturday, 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). The transportation also will be done, because is taken care of, and the itinerary will be communicated to the university community,” Prof. Gomez told the media.
MOHERST held a press conference at the University of the Gambia’s Faraba Bantang Campus earlier on Friday.
The purpose of this press conference was to inform the public, through the media, about the progress of work at the UTG Faraba Bantang Campus.
Before the press conference commenced, the Minister for Higher Education, Professor Pierre Gomez, guided journalists from various media outlets on a tour of the entire campus to provide them with firsthand information regarding the campus’s progress.
This event took place just two weeks after the University of the Gambia students union, in a previous press conference, expressed concerns about the unpreparedness of the Faraba Bantang Campus, particularly the lack of water and electricity.
During the tour, it was confirmed that the campus indeed had access to running water and electricity. Water dispensers were conveniently placed throughout the campus, and CCTV cameras were operational.
Furthermore, the campus was equipped with over 450 computers, more than 200 printers, and more than 150 refrigerators, all awaiting installation by the contractors to serve the university’s management, lecturers, and students.
The state-of-the-art campus also boasted modern toilets, air conditioning in offices and auditoriums, ceiling fans in classrooms, and projectors installed for permanent use in all classrooms.
Notably, in April 2022, it was reported that a UTG lecturer had to conduct lectures under a tree at the Brikama Campus due to the lack of classrooms and chairs for students.
Following the campus tour, Professor Pierre Gomez, the Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology, disclosed that currently, 14% of courses are not being conducted due to a shortage of classrooms.
“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.
“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’s has quality assurance implications implication,” Prof. Gomez said.
Prof. Gomez argues that the need for the UTG to move to its Faraba Bantang Campus is evident, given the current situation. He asserts that the Faraba Bantang Campus has enough classrooms to accommodate all UTG students without any difficulty.
“Here (UTG) 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,” he said.
Since its establishment in 1999, the UTG has been grappling with numerous challenges, including a lack of classroom spaces for some of the schools within the UTG.
These have been affecting effective and efficient teaching and learning at the country’s highest learning institution.
The schools readily available for students at the Faraba campus are the School of Education, School of Information Technology, School of Arts and Sciences, and School of Business and Public Administration.