Dilemma at Gambia College’s School of Public Health, students losing Core Courses, and stipends unpaid for three months

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More information is emerging from The Gambia College’s ongoing crisis as students, particularly the final year students are frustrated by the fact that they have lost core courses in public health, alongside other administrative malpractices impacting on their academic courses.

The Gambia College had been a centre for academic excellence since its inception 65 years ago. It was primarily established for the training of teachers, agriculturist, nurses, and public health officers. The students decried that over the years, “the general performance and quality of Gambia College products have been deteriorating.”

“This was first presumed to be due to the influence of the University of the Gambia in the college campus particularly the school of Public Health premises,” the students said, noting that it became consequently clear to them that the college apparently lacks structure and administrative techniques for the smooth running of the institutions.

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“We the students are not given our monthly stipends for at least three months coupled with the persistent lack of chairs and tables. We always scramble for chairs before each lecture and sometimes if there is not any, we have to perch on tables like birds,” they explained.

According to leaks to Fatu Radio Network, some of those core subjects, mostly taught by one Mr. Ebrima Fatajo at the school of public health but were withdrawn from him… “At first, when professor Kah was the overseer of the College, we blamed him for our misfortunes, but now with the so called principal, Mr. Abubacarr Jallow, we begin to see things differently, albeit worse.”

“[As a result] we do not understand anything in public health and most of our grades are very poor. [We] even heard the rumor that the principal and the head of school are fixing new results for our class in order to protect a female student called Adama Jallow and some of her colleagues who are not in academic good standing.”

According to reports, College Principal Jallow made “his proud and pompous third wife” Adama Jallow, his secretary, and even enrolled her into the School of Public Health. All the student of the school of Public Health knew the caliber and low intelligent quotient of Adama Jallow. She flaws the school rules that no one dare to speak, they added.

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Mrs. Adama Jallow, as secretary to the principal, comes to school anytime she wants in any class, except Mr. Fatajo’s. According to reports, Mr. Fatajo won the respect and honour of the students for several reasons, among them a regulation he instituted that every student must attend classes regularly and punctually.

“If any student fails to attend 80% of his classes, you do not sit to his exams…. Mr. Fatajo is the only good lecturer at the School of Public Health,” the students said.

However, this was to bring a clash between Mr. Fatajo and the school principal, whose third wife, secretary and public health student fall victim to the 80% attendance requirement in 2014, May/June exams:

“When Fatajo stopped her from sitting to exams, it nearly caused a cancellation of the exams because Mr. Solomon P.S. Jatta, the Acting Head of School of Public Health, came into the examination hall and ordered that  Fatajo’s  paper was cancelled, and that the students should disperse. It was then then that Mr. Fatajo stood up and addressed us that the exams would continue, and we did continue…”

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After that paper, the public health students were shocked that two letters were pasted on Solomon Jatta’s office door, purported to be sent to Fatajo informing him that he was demoted because Adama Jallow did not sit for those exams.

“The two letters were written by Mr. Abubacarr Jallow, the current principal and Mr. Solomon P.S. Jatta. In Jallow’s capacity as a Principal, such a repugnant communication to a colleague is a professional misdemeanor and [it shows] that he is being managed by his wife of a student, Adama Jallow. …

“Even all the students felt humiliated and disgraced by Mr. Jallow’s actions, but because he is the highest authority, we kept calm. We are even seriously considering to riot against the issue, because lecturers like Mr. Fatajo are the only right ones for the school. He never treated students unfairly and indifferently. He treats everyone as equal.

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