The government of The Gambia Monday signed a US$53.46 million deal with an Indian construction firm Shapoorji Pallonji International for the construction of a state-of-the-art campus for the University of The Gambia (UTG) in Faraba Banta.
The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science, Technology and Religious Affairs at the Futurlec Building in Kotu.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Higher Education Minister, Dr. Abubacarr Senghore said government’s decision to establish the University of The Gambia marks a significant era in the history of the country’s tertiary education. “Before 1994, university education was not even in Gambia’s plans,” he said.
He added that the new campus when ready is expected to house over 6000 students with programmes in masters, doctorate as well as post-doctorate, advance research and development programmes.
Dr. Fatou Lamin Faye, minister of Basic and Secondary Education said the establishment of the UTG had involved a collective resource mobilisation process which is now yielding dividend.
She enjoined the construction firm to ensure hard work on the project, saying the University is vitally dear to President Jammeh.
Mohan Dass Saini, the managing director and chief executive officer of Shappoorji Palllonji assured officials of a timely and well-grounded edifice. He said the multimillion dollar project which comes after the successful construction of the country’s National Assembly building will be duly taken care of.
He said the project has a challenging timeframe but by looking at the history and quality of his company, they are confident of completing the project on time.
Hon. Bala Garba Jahumpa, minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure described the University of The Gambia as a turning point in the country’s higher education system.
“This is a testimony to the fact that since the [advent of the] July 22nd Revolution, President Jammeh has instituted various projects and programmes that will address the needs and aspirations of the young people of The Gambia,” he concluded.
by Amadou Jallow