President Barrow says skills and entrepreneurship are vital for The Gambia
by Masa Sheriff
President Adama Barrow has said that for a country like The Gambia, skills and entrepreneurship are important enablers to drive socio-economic transformation.
He made this statement on the occasion of the 15th convocation of the University of The Gambia on Saturday.
However, to realize this, he said higher education institutions must act as essential drivers to promote a culture of learning, skill development and entrepreneurship for sustainable development.
“As a guiding definition, it suffices to argue that sustainable development implies progressively working to meet the present and emerging needs of society continuously without compromising the optimal development of future generations.
“Thus, we expect that the sustainable development programs will be suitably progressive in line with the economic, social and environmental concerns of the nation,” he said.
He added: “For years, we have seen strong economic growth in developing countries without significant reductions in unemployment rates or significant increases in employment opportunities to meet labor market needs.”
“This discrepancy raises the question: are the knowledge and skills gained from our institutions appropriate enough?”
He emphasized that higher learning skills are necessary to inculcate sustainable future vision and mindset and skills for problem solving, decision making, teamwork and critical thinking, which are essential for national development through sound education and training. strongly related to.
“These skills are fundamental and essential to the achievement of our national goals and the global Sustainable Development Goals. Higher learning skills contribute to increased efficiency and productivity, and this opens up better opportunities to achieve sustainable development.
“Education and training are, therefore, at the heart of socio-economic transformation as they facilitate progress through enhanced creativity, civic participation and contribution to national development towards a stable future,” he said.
President Barrow said that the university system in many African countries still reflects the legacy of the past. They are systems characterized by academic curricula that produce graduates for positions in government.
“We must reverse the trend to allow our countries to take their rightful place and actively participate in an integrated global economy,” he said.
He said it was quite clear that “the stock of graduates with secondary and tertiary education level skills leans mostly towards the humanities and social sciences”, noting that the proportion of students in science, technology and engineering could be much higher.
She stressed that there needs to be a clear boost to female representation in science and technology related courses and professions, adding that new skills are constantly needed in technical fields, as technical competence and economic growth are intertwined .
“The use of new technologies enhances productivity, employment opportunities and ability to move up the production value chain. Therefore, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is a major component of the solution to our development challenges,” he said.
The Gambian leader pointed out that entrepreneurship is an accepted agent of change for sustainable development, adding that “for this reason, there is a need to encourage youth to become innovative entrepreneurs”.
“If they grow up with an entrepreneurial mindset, they will develop new business growth and development ideas. This will create independent, confident, innovative and creative youth.”
“Youth with these endowments can definitely create jobs, bridge the unemployment gap, and contribute positively towards the socio-economic transformation of The Gambia by solving important social challenges through their entrepreneurial ventures .
“My government recognizes that entrepreneurs are essential to economic growth, wealth creation and employment. Indeed, entrepreneurship can play a major role in combating global crises that are slowing progress. This is even more important if entrepreneurial efforts combined with public-private partnership, which is vital for sustainable development in developing countries,” he said.
He said that Kovid-19 has highlighted the need for innovation. Therefore, it is necessary to give priority to entrepreneurship education in the curriculum of higher education institutions.