Prof. Pierre Gomez

As part of its efforts to follow a participatory approach, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) held Wednesday a day-long stakeholder engagement on financing of higher education.

“The Higher Education Ministry wants to be useful, ” the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Prof. Pierre Gomez, told participants during the forum that took place at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center in Kololi.

The Gambia government has recently expressed its resolve to offer loan to students in the academic field. MoHERST convened the consultative meeting aimed at addressing not only the issue of financing of higher education, but also choosing the right model when considering the student loan scheme.

Prof. Gomez said if their initiative is going to be meaningful, the ministry must involve local experts in the process.

“Let the academics speak!” he exclaimed in a bid to demonstrate his commitment to valuing local experts.

He then added: “Let’s allow them to speak, and from there, we will know how to put our house in order.”

Consequently, he revealed that UTG researchers have been hired to do the job, and are expected to come up with a position paper on financing of higher education – including the best student loan model.

“Education is not fit for purpose when we don’t know which model we are using,” he warned. “We need to chose.”

He further stated that higher education must be democratised, moving away from an elitist system that does not serve the country.

The forum brought together major stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, members of the National Assembly Select Committee on Education, development partners etc…