By Momodou Jarju

The Principal of the oldest learning tertiary institution in the country, Gambia College, has complained about shortage of furniture and other items the institution is grappling with.

The insufficient furniture in particular chairs, left some students with the option of roving to other classes looking for chairs, when they have lessons.

Abubacarr Jallow said the lack of furniture has prevented students from using the newly constructed eighteen classroom block, sponsored by the MRC Holland Foundation which was recently inaugurated by President Adama Barrow. Jallow made the statement last week during the graduation ceremony of over two thousand students. “Class space and furniture remains a constraint though we are on the verge of solving the problem. And with the eighteen classrooms that have been handed over, furniture is still a problem to fix,” he said. He however expressed optimism that by the end of the year, they hope to resolve the problems of classrooms.

Principal Jallow said the School of Agriculture is in need of farming equipment and machinery especially in the areas of animal production. Jallow said upgrading the internet for all students and staff is needed, because its accessibility will help them in their research and save them money spent at the internet cafés.

He said the School of Education which enrols over two and a half thousand students in 2019, continues to grapple with staff; that the College has lost some of its staff permanently and others temporarily, especially those who have taken leave of absence, to work with the Commissions.

“So, this has hampered the smooth running of the School and is something that I think the Minister is aware of, because we have extensive discussions on the way forward and I think the clouds are about to disappear for the sun to shine once again,” Principal Jallow said.

The veteran lecturer said the School of Nursing and Midwifery faces space problem because it shares facilities and teaching aids with the School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences of the UTG.

Jallow said with an increase in the number this year to 102, the January intakes waited until after the graduation ceremony, to replace outgoing students. “In terms of transportation, the School will need a 25-seater mini-van in addition to the other dilapidated vehicles that they have, so that they will be able to monitor students; that the School is constantly visits Bwiam on outreach programs for both junior community and senior community levels.

He said the School of Agriculture and Public Health also needs a 25-seater van because their students constantly make field trips to see real situations.

On the School of Public Health which has the smallest number of students, Jallow said they have adequate staff unlike other Schools; that this is as a result of the return of staff who went on study leave. “Two of them have returned from their masters’ program in Nigeria. Others have completed their bachelor degrees from the University of The Gambia,” he said.

He however said transportation, internet connectivity and the provision of scholarship especially for further training, is needed for the School and sister Schools.

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