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Visit of the Gambian Minister of Higher Education and his delegation to UNESCO Dakar

As part of an official visit to Senegal, the newly appointed Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MOHERST) of the Gambia visited UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar to discuss current and future collaboration between UNESCO’s different sectors and the Gambia.

On 17 April, UNESCO Dakar welcomed the Minister of Higher Education of the Gambia, Hon. Badara A. Joof and his delegation, including the Rector of the University of the Gambia (UTG), and other high-level representatives. The meeting provided an opportunity for the Minister to present the priority areas of his Ministry where collaboration with UNESCO could be envisioned, such as skills development, to enhance the employability of youth, and the strengthening of the quality of higher education in order to meet the research and innovation objectives of the country, particularly in the fields of agriculture, medicine and engineering.

In the light of recent events in the country, the Minister underlined the importance of rethinking education and building a culture of peace to prevent violence and conflict. He reiterated that skills development in particular has a key part to play in providing young people with future prospects as well as opportunities to get involved in the development of the Gambia. In this regard, the Minister recalled the added value and expertise of UNESCO, whose mandate is at the nexus of education, science and culture, making the organization a strategic partner in this mission.

UNESCO Dakar’s multisectoral team composed of colleagues from the Culture, Communication & Information, Science, and Education sectors, including its Institute of Statistics (UIS) and the International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP-Pole de Dakar), shared their perspectives on possible areas of cooperation and technical and policy support in response to the challenges and needs raised by the Gambian delegation. These included policy development and implementation of ICT training for teachers, support to youth employment and entrepreneurship with a focus on skills for professionalization of cultural heritage protection and tourism, strengthening the links with other universities, support to science, technology and innovation (STI), and capacity strengthening for education sector planning and quality data production.

Following this promising exchange, the dialogue will ensue between the Gambia and UNESCO Dakar to define a common strategy for collaboration.

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