By Yankuba Jallow
Gambia College students at the Brikama Campus have decried what they called the high cost of tuition fees that Government has instituted. Information reaching this medium has it that the government sponsored students at the Gambia College have overwhelmingly dropped in number compared to the past years leaving many without much option but to start paying as private students.
The President of The Gambia College Student Union, Bakary Kujabi has said the number of private students have overwhelmingly increased especially in the school of education, compared to the previous years. “The number of government sponsored students have significantly dropped compared to the previous years,” Bakary Kujabi said. “The list of private students has overwhelmingly increased in the school of education”, he said. The Students’ Union President explained some of the challenges that the students who are paying for themselves are faced with since the introduction of tuition fees at the college by the Coalition Government; that students are now paying D7,000 per annum in addition to transport, on a daily basis, coupled with assignments and other daily expenses incurred. He lamented that most students come from rural Gambia, whose families are poor and may not be able to meet the expenses of the College. He called on the new Government to support the students by promoting their welfare and remove the burden of tuition fees on them. “If the Government fails to invest in the students when they graduate they may choose to work for private entities”, he said. “That is their sole right”, he said. When asked the reason for the increase in private students and reduction of government sponsored students, Kujabi responded that he heard that Government said they could not sponsor large number of students.
“Some students have even decided to back down”, he said. The Gambia College has in its composition many schools such as schools of Education, Agriculture, Public and Environmental Health and Nursing and Midwifery. Most of the students were Government paid students expected for the school of Agriculture.
Efforts to speak to the Principal Gambia College, Abubacarr Jallow, were not successful but Foroyaa will continue to engage him.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Demba Ali Jawo has been quoted in his monthly press briefing as saying Government does not have the ability to sponsor many students. The Gambia College is a public institution that has enrolled thousands of Gambians over decades since establishment. The students have raised their voices for Government to restore their sponsorship.