The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology on Wednesday, 31st August conducted a one-day forum on the development of a strategy for the financing of higher education in The Gambia. The aim of the forum was to bring together stakeholders to further discuss and share ideas and expertise as well as reach a consensus on a financing model for implementation.

The Forum was chaired by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Yusupha Touray who welcomed participants to the important gathering. In attendance were members from the Tertiary and Higher Education Institutions, National Assembly, Higher Education Advisory Committee, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, satellite institutions, students and staff of MoHERST, among others.

For the Minister of Higher Education, Professor Pierre Gomez, the investment in higher education is key to any sustainable development. Therefore, he said, it is significant to have a model for the financing of higher education in The Gambia.  Hon. Prof Gomez also added that the Ministry will be engaging partners and stakeholders on the development of a Student Loan Scheme as well as an education financing framework to support the tertiary and higher education. According to him, the loan scheme will be structured in such a way that a suitable payment plan will be put in place for beneficiaries after completion of studies.  

In his statement, Hon. Alhajie S. Darboe, National Assembly Member and Chairman of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) reiterated that the forum was timely with only few months to the budget sessions. He advised MoHERST to do a proper planning ahead of time and assured the Ministry of the support of FPAC and Select Committee on Education and ICT towards this initiative.

For his part, Mod A.K Secka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs underlined the importance of financing the human capital development of the country as this will help produce home-grown technicians who will take charge of developmental issues. To this effect, he assured the support of the Ministry of Finance towards the advancement of tertiary and higher education in the country.

Also present was, Madame Henrietta Sonko of MRC Holland Foundation, who stressed that University and TVET Education is very expensive, as a result, more investment need to be made by both government and the private sector. Thus, she assured the full support of MRC Holland Foundation to the Ministry of Higher Education.

On the technical sessions, Dr. Muhammed Lamin Sanyang from the University of The Gambia, who is also the consultant, presented on the Higher Education Financing Concept. His presentation opened the floor for an interactive question and answer session. The comments and suggestions from participants in the forum will inform the model that will be used to guide the financing of higher education in The Gambia. This model will be validated upon finalisation.

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