By Mahzouba Maya Faal
The Gambia has been identified to host the Regional Steering Committee Meeting and the 8th ACE Impact Regional Workshop in November 2022. This decision was initially taken at the Regional Steering Committee Meeting and was later announced at the closing ceremony of the 7th Regional Workshop in Cotonou, Benin.
The meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), Mr. Mod AK Secka, who doubles as the Regional Steering Committee Member; the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Technical) of MoHERST Dr.YusuphaTouray, who is also the National Focal Point for Gambia ACE Impact; the Project Manager of PCU, Mr Abdoulie Sowe and other staff of PCU and USET.
The Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence, Impact for Development (ACE Impact) is an ACE I successor project, which is meant to build capacities of African universities to take ownership of Africa’s socio-economic development.
Under ACE I, the country was selected to buy services from the ACEs, and focussed its grant funding on faculty development, targeting staff of University of The Gambia, Gambia College, and Gambia Technical Training Institute. Each of these Institutions had more than ten (10) staff on average, trained in the Engineering, Agriculture, Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Nursing and Public Health disciplines.
The training was also expanded to include other government ministries, departments, and agencies, with focus on National Planning and ICT cadres, which were considered critical to the Gambia’s national development agenda. Those trained at GTTI in the engineering disciplines are now doing their PhD at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and are being mentored to take up the teaching and research at the new university towards the end of the ACE Impact Project.
In the second ACE, emphasis is on development impact, and The Gambia has chosen to establish an Emerging Centre on Science, Technology and Engineering for Entrepreneurship (STEE). This model of education streamlines entrepreneurship mindset into science, technology and engineering programmes in a bid to graduating potential job creators,who studied concepts and principles with the view of transforming those concepts and principles into business models.
53 Centres of Excellence, from 11 West African Countries and Djibouti, as well as participants from the AAU, the World Bank and other development partners are expected to participate. The meeting will also invite Ministers of higher education and scientific research from all the participating West African countries and Djibouti.