By Saikou Suwareh Jabai and Awa B. Bah
The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), Friday 6th July, 2018, concluded a 2-day international diaspora forum on quality and relevant education at Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia.
The convergence is aimed at identifying realistic and relevant world class processes, models, practices that can be implemented to provide quality education from kindergarten to university. The conference will enable participants understand and develop a practical process document on quality education and relevance. By the end of the forum, schools will also be identified in each region that will serve as pilot study to implement newly developed document in quality and relevant education.
In his welcoming remarks, the Chairman and Coordinator of Diaspora Education Forum, Professor Michael Ba-Banutu Gomez of Rowan University in USA, expressed delight about the conference and said meaningful development cannot take place without quality and relevant education.
“We are all here today because we believe in one thing and that is quality education and relevance for our beloved country,” he said.
He commended the MoHERST for the foresight of organising the diaspora forum, saying it will go far enough in improving the education sector of the country.
He said achieving quality and relevant education requires stakeholders to be open to ideas and put positive change in their practices.
He said successful institutions treat transformation as a critical theme in making sure they have a competitive advantage. Prof. Gomez posited that change is a process and that as stakeholders; they have a big role to play in consolidating the country’s democratic change by proving quality education. Prof Gomez highlighted some challenges hindering the country’s quest for quality education. These factors, he added, include inadequate capacity of teachers and overpopulated classrooms.
He said they are gathered to ask questions and come up with strategies on how they can develop quality education in the country.
“To make this possible, we need to create partnership that is based on mutual benefits. This is what will make our partnership successful because it will allow us to identify priority areas in providing quality education,” he added.
He noted that Gambians in the diaspora are willing and ready to give back to the country’s education sector.
The Permanent Secretary of MoHERST, Yaya Sireh Jallow, said in January this year, the ministry convened a planning meeting which set the stage and outlined key issues of concern to the higher education sector that needed the attention of all well-meaning Gambians at home and abroad.
He said the diaspora forum is aimed at attracting and harnessing the vast reservoir of resources, talent, committed and patriotism that exist in the Gambian diaspora community.
“It is gratifying to know that this partnership has already started yielding dividend as some in the diaspora have already taken up lectures at the University of The Gambia, while others have committed themselves to commence lectures very soon,” the PS said.
He said Gambian academics, professionals and practitioners of all trades in the diaspora continue to leave an indelible mark of achievement and excellence on the societies of their host countries. He said it is in recognition of this track record that the ministry deemed it necessary to invite all Gambians in the diaspora to join in the crusade of rebuilding the country’s education sector.