Jankey Ceesay and Alimatou S Bajinka
The management of the University of The Gambia has conducted the first leadership training for its student leaders.
The two-day capacity building which was held from 1st to 2nd September [today] at the Peace Building Conference hall at the UTG main campus in Kanifing, attracted the leaders of the University Students’ Union, legislative body, judiciary tribunal, electoral commission and sub-associations.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr Faqir Muhammed Anjum, while giving his welcoming remarks, called on the students to have good conduct and a sense of purpose.
“Everyone gathered here today, some will either give you the theoretical framework when it comes to leadership, general skills and knowledge that you need to have; but also within a proper context, you [students] need to know the university system and culture to exist. You need to have a voice and to have a voice you must do your homework and that homework must be anchored on knowledge, truth and development that is your motto here [university of the Gambia],” he said.
Professor Anjum said there are two types of students- students at the university and students of the university.
“The students at the university are those that never contribute to the development or wellbeing of the university. The students of the university are the direct opposite of these people. We want students with a difference, a student who will neither be praise singers nor rebel but a student who will really understand that he or she has a mission to fulfill for the interest of the common good,” he explained.
Vice Chancellor Faqir urged the student leaders to be agents of change which the UTG needs.
“A leader that will contribute significantly, will be an agent of change and that is the type of leader we will be looking for. Also, if you feel what you are doing is right and you have a clear vision, and that vision is in line with the truth, you stand for national interest, and common good, even if the whole world is against it and you are the last soldier standing, receiving the bullet for the interest of common good, justice, truth, development and knowledge to be celebrated because you are a leader,” Faqir said. We don’t want to have undeserving students in academics, things must be done based on rules, regulations, principles, and core values,” the Professor advised.
Meanwhile, Muhammed Y Darboe, Secretary General of University of The Gambia Students’ Union said if University should only train individuals academically, and leave them into the society then there would be a vacancy in the leadership space.
He welcomed the training and appealed to the UTG management for quality assurance in making sure that the training is sustained, even for the future student leadership.
SG Darboe further underscored the importance and the timeliness of the training.
“This training exercise is very important because, when you look at the administrative structure and the recruitment process of the students in the University of the Gambia you will understand that from the enrolment process to retention process. We do not have training processes, and I think this is a fundamental pillar for the students who serve in various capacities and to serve for national development,” he said.
The UTGSU SG urged his fellow student leaders to use the knowledge acquired from the training, meaningfully.
“This training should be utilized by the student leaders here present. The experience that we will gather here should manifest not only in our behaviours, but also in our practices, as we work in different institutions. We might see ourselves as students who are taking a mega responsibility, but the impact that those responsibilities are doing in the academic society of the University and the lives of students is worthy of commendation. We sacrifice our time, resources, and energy in serving the students of the University of the Gambia on gratis. If only we can continue that spirit, then we will perform beyond expectation at occasions and places where we are given money. I am sure this is going to be a very successful training and I want to assure the university management that this training will be well utilized,” Darboe assured.