By Nelson Manneh
The Gambia College Student Unions’ (GCSU) and the Student Teachers Association (STA) engaged the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), on the recent increment on tuition fees at the College.
The meeting was held on Monday the 26th of August 2019 at the Ministry building in Banjul. Students under the school of education represented by the executive of the GCSU, the STA representatives, as well as other students were all present at the meeting.
Tijan Jallow the president of the STA, a sub-union at the college of students and teachers told MoBSE representatives that the tuition fees at the College were increased, which he cited as a concern to them as students.
“Students raised concern that their tuition fees have been increased from D7,000 to D10,000 which most of them cannot afford to pay,” he pointed out.
Mr. Jallow added that some students have their private sponsors and those sponsors are only aware of D7,000 as the tuition fee per year and the increment will affect them.
“There are some students who still find it difficult to pay the D7,000 not to talk of increasing it to D10,000,” he said.
Antouman Gaye President of the Student’s Union told the gathering that students who are already enrolled in the College should be considered and their tuition fees should be maintained at the current tariff.
“Our concern is with the students who are already enrolled. On their acceptance letter, it is clearly stated that they are to pay seven thousand dalasis and not ten thousand dalasis,” Mr. Gaye reiterated.
Responding to the students’ demand Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) Adama Jimba Jobe MoBSE advised students to go and meet the College Council and discuss the issue with them.
“We are not in any way linked to the tuition fees given by the College Administration,” he said.
He added: “We sponsored some students at the College and we are even thinking of reducing the number,” Mr. Jobe disclosed.
Jobe told the students that the College is facing challenges on the payment of salaries and that is why the College cannot maintain some of its staff, which he said, led to the protest in the college.
“Some of the staff in the College will prefer to go to other private Senior Secondary School and teach there than the College,” adding the College finds it very difficult to maintain its teachers.
He urged the students to hold a peaceful dialogue with the stakeholders in order to resolve the matter peacefully.
Following the recent increment in tuition fees at The Gambia College, students met last week to discuss the way forward on the increment.
They agreed to send a delegation to meet with the MoBSE to amplify their voices. They argued that the increment on tuition fees shouldn’t affect them, because it wasn’t mentioned in their acceptance letters at the time of enrollment.