By Adama Tine
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia (UTG), Professor Pierre Gomez, in an interview with MAMOS Media has revealed that they have submitted a position paper to the governing council to buy buses for its students.
“We have asked for a supplementary budget of 12.6 million dalasi and council has approved that to buy two buses. This is internally generated. The process has started now and we should expect them in three months’ time because they are not available in the country,” he said during the interview conducted on Monday at his office.
The move came following a peaceful protest on Friday staged by the UTG Students Union to express their dissatisfaction with the intermittent strikes by lecturers of the University.
During the peaceful protest, the students identified dozens of demands which they said were directly affecting their academic lives, including the provision of buses for students amongst others.
“Now we have agreed and this semester, there are no online classes. Everything will be face to face. We will have challenges for venues that is why we are hiring more venues such as Ndow’s hall, Ebunjan Theater and GTMI for a whole semester. We are waiting for their response,” he said.
Professor Gomez said they are taking some of their Brikama classes to Faraba and the buses will be transporting students from Brikama campus to Faraba.
With regards to laboratories demanded by the students, he said the Ministry of Petroleum through the Higher Education Ministry has provided lab equipment worth six million dalasi.
“We will be using them this semester,” he assured.
Professor Gomez also revealed that UTG has also procured lab equipment in addition to the ones provided by the Ministry of Higher Education to be placed at Faraba.
For the medical school, he said the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Turkey have also sponsored lab equipment that will arrive in three months’ time.
On the demand for the installation of a strong WiFi/Internet connectivity across all campuses before lectures begin, Professor Gomez disclosed that the WiFi is already existing, but the problem they have is the distribution in the facility. He said the IT people have already placed the order for the equipment and promised to address the matter by the end of the week.
“We need to have a strong signal that is why we signed a contract with Gamtel, worth more than a million dalasi for a fiber cable for all our campuses,” he said.
The Student Union also demanded that standard libraries be established in all campuses, especially in Brikama campus.
Professor Gomez responded: “We have a library that is functional, and we told them effective 1st of October, 2021 all libraries will now operate up to 7pm. We are paying millions to get an E-library.”
On the reduction of students’ tuition fees, the vice chancellor said the government will respond to that.
He however added: “half of the students here at the UTG are government sponsored. We have 6000 students and more than 3000 are government sponsored.”