By Buba Gagigo
The management of the University of The Gambia says the principal suspect in the UTG grades scandal was invited to appear before the Panel of Investigation on 8th February 2023, to respond to allegations levelled against him.
“The principal suspect was invited to appear before the Panel on 8th February 2023, to respond to allegations levelled against him. The Panel sat several times and interviewed other staff and students as witnesses,” the UTG management revealed.
The UTG management said as a matter of procedure, the Report of the Fact-Finding Panel shall be presented to the standing Disciplinary Committee for consideration and recommendations which they said will be submitted to The Governing Council for action.
“At the Senate Meeting held on 17 February 2023, to consider the grades and results of over 1300 graduands, the Senate considered the names of ten (10) students-seven (7) females and three (3) males, purportedly affected by the grade altering/tampering saga and subsequently expunged the names of eight (8) of the students under consideration, from the graduation list, pending the outcome of the investigation of the case on grade tampering. The other two students affected were not eligible for graduation
” At the special Governing Council Meeting held on 23 February 2023, to consider and ratify the fist of graduands for the 15 Convocation Ceremony, Management reported to Council the decision of the Senate to expunge the names of eight (8) out of the ten (10) students affected from the graduation list. The Governing Council, without equivocation, ratified the decision of the Senate. The UTG management said.
The University of The Gambia management said In January 2023, allegations were rife within the University community that the grades of some students had been altered/tampered with in the student portal.
In response to these alarming developments, the UTG management said access right to the portal was denied to the principal suspect with immediate effect and a Fact-Finding Investigative Panel was constituted on 30 January 2023.
They said on 31 January 2023, a Memorandum captioned Strengthening the Student Portal was circulated within the UTG Community outlining the revised procedures and processes for the student portal, as mitigating actions designed to enhance data security and grade integrity as follows.
- Only Registry personnel shall enter/edit/delete grades before the Senate’s ratification of the results
- Staff are not allowed to edit grades that the Senate has approved under any circumstances. If a grade has to be amended, cogent reasons must be presented, before it is then subjected to the review, approval and ratification process following the above procedure, and finally edited ONLY by the Transcript Office from the Registrar’s office.
- Heads of Departments (HoDs)/Deans and other user departments will only have access to view and approve grade reports, but not edit or delete.
- Faculty Officers/lecturers can only prepare and/or make recommendations for course grades under their School/Faculty to be edited, and no other School/Faculty grades. This applies to all programmes, including postgraduate programmes.
- The Deputy Registrar, School of Graduate Studies and Research, shall be responsible for ALL graduate studies grades.
The University went on to say that other measures were put in place to strengthen the accountability chain in the administration of Student’s grades, including mandating the lecturer preparing the end of course grades to sign result sheets in hard copies.
The UTG missive ends with outlining the critical role the integrity of the university’s grading system plays in the fair assessment of student’s performance and in safeguarding the university’s reputation.