The Gambia, one of the English-speaking nations in West Africa, has invited its students to apply for postgraduate scholarships at Nigerian universities.The appeal was made by Prof. Pierre Gomez, the Gambian Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology, during a courtesy visit to Chris Maiyaki, the acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, on Monday in Abuja.
Gomez added that the majority of the main officers, including the vice chancellor of the nation’s first university, were Nigerians and praised them for establishing the groundwork for higher education in the Gambia.
The minister praised the calibre of Nigerian universities and stated that Gambians who had previously participated in postgraduate studies at such institutions through the African Centre of Excellence, which was supported by the World Bank, were now holding important positions in the nation.
According to him, postgraduate scholarships in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are of special interest to the Gambia.”We are here to seek support for postgraduate scholarships in various fields, particularly in STEM, and to find out if TVET falls under your jurisdiction. This is something we want to see in receiving support in that area and in capacity building, because of the relationship we have with Abuja and Banjul.
“As you are aware, knowledge gives people their freedom. Gomez proposed, “We want functional education. Having a master’s or doctorate is one thing, but being able to solve societal problems is another.”The minister stated, “We still have developmental issues and we strongly believe higher education can change the situation.
” He also made an appeal for assistance in the field of capacity building.In response, Maiyaki, the interim Executive Secretary of the NUC, gave the minister assurances of support. Accompanied by other commission directors, he stated that Nigeria would not back down from its big brother position, even in the face of its own issues.
“Even though we don’t have enough access, roughly two million Nigerian children apply to universities each year, and we only accept up to 50% of them.”As for the supply of electricity, the NUC head stated, “If you take electricity supply, Nigeria is not self-sufficient but we provide electricity to the Niger Republic—that is our deliberate friendly stance from Independence.
“The visit coincided with the recent introduction of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards in the Nigerian University System, which delighted Maiyaki.”We recently unveiled our new curriculum, and this visit coincides with Nigeria’s curriculum redesign.
CCMAS is innovative and vibrant, the speaker declared.Speaking further, Maiyaki stated that the NUC’s transactional education principles had allowed Nigeria to open up its higher education system to significant participants from around the world.”We have made the decision to allow footballers, real players, into Nigeria’s higher education system. Foreign universities are welcome to visit; we are open to well-intentioned interventions,” Maiyaki stated.
In order for the NUC to handle the request for postgraduate scholarships, Maiyaki advised the ministry of Gambian to submit a detailed proposal outlining the desired programmes and universities.
While stating that the NUC was prepared to support collaborative research between researchers in Nigeria and the Gambia to address common issues, Maiyaki disclosed that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board had devised a scheme to entice roughly five hundred students from the Gambia to study in Nigerian universities, and urged investigation of the possibility.