Speaking at the official opening of the Ministerial Project Steering Committee Meeting and the 8th Regional Workshop of the ACE Impact Project, The Gambian Head of State, Mr. Adama Barrow, said the workshop was organized at a time when his government was making concerted efforts to transform the country’s higher education system through reforms that would put young people at the forefront of national development.
However, he said, as the African continent continues to close its capacity gaps, particularly in the area of human resource development, nothing is more relevant than working to build the capacity of universities. African.
Further, he added that with regard to the ACE project, The Gambia is working towards the establishment of a fully-fledged center of excellence in science, technology and engineering for entrepreneurship.
“The purpose of this concentration is obvious; we need adequate human capital with an entrepreneurial spirit to match our development progress and aspirations,” he noted.
According to him, education reform efforts in The Gambia will emphasize practical education and training. “To advance this agenda, my government, through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, is setting up regional competence centers with the accompanying program required to technical education and training.
Hon. Professor Pierre Gomez, Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), said the event was symbolic as it came at a time when education reforms higher education in the country, in particular the establishment of STEE at USET, have achieved the desired objectives.
He added that The Gambia, since entering the African Centers of Excellence, has benefited immensely, more so in the formation of human capital from the crucial development institutions in The Gambia.
According to Minister MoHERST, the Gambian government expresses its gratitude to the World Bank, the Association of African Universities and other partners for their continued support in the development of our higher education sector.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the divergent experts from different academic and industrial sectors present at the meeting symbolize the willingness of African institutions to address the challenges through education and research.
“Together as Africans, through such a project, we are stronger. We can consolidate efforts to develop academic and research outputs that can help address youth employability, food security and endemic health issues that have stifled our respective economies for so long,” he said. added.
Olusola Bandele Oyewole, Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AAU), said the African Union’s continental education strategy for Africa clearly spells out the crucial role of innovation and technology in the aim to reorient Africa’s education and training systems to respond to the knowledge, skills, abilities, innovations and creativity needed to nurture African core values and promote sustainable development at national, sub-regional and continental levels .
He added that the higher education sector plays a vital role in boosting innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. “We have a responsibility to cultivate creativity and harness innovation through quality education and excellent applied research.”
Feyi Boroffice, Resident Representative of the World Bank in The Gambia, said that ACE projects are an excellent model for leveraging regional approaches to promote quality, innovative, sustainable and collaborative higher education sectors in Africa, in complementary to national efforts.
She added that the project has successfully served as a regional platform to form multidisciplinary networks that address pressing development challenges through highly relevant research in sectors such as health, climate change, food security. , ICT, renewable energy, water and sustainable mining. .