By: Modou Touray
Ousman Bah, students’ president of the Gambia College-Basse Campus, has disclosed to The Fatu Network challenges faced by students on campus.
He said some students on boarding at the Basse campus develop Ulcer due to insufficient diet. He added that no feeding program is available for students instead they contribute to feed themselves.
According to experts, getting the needed food and nourishment for health and growth is essential for effective learning. Without good nutrition, people grow weak and sick thereby hampering the required mental and physical strength for effective learning.
The Gambia College, Basse campus was built to enhance decentralization in higher education. The college is in Basse, 3-4 kilometers away from the town centre.
“Feeding is our main challenge at the campus. Students struggle to contribute to cook their daily meal. In fact, the contribution only caters for the breakfast and lunch,” Bah explained.
He added that the money students often collect is often insufficient to give them three square meal, noting that some even go to bed hungry while some work to the town centre in search of food.
Experts say insufficient or poor diet can affect one’s health, learning, and psychosocial behavior. Malnutrition can result in long-term neural issues in the brain, which can impact a person’s emotional responses or reactions to stress, learning disabilities, and other medical complications.
It is also said that such condition leads to a significant drop in energy, lack of focus and being able to perform well mentally.
“Some students can’t even afford the contribution because the campus comprises both in-service and pre-service students (i.e those in the teaching field and are receiving salaries and new in-take who have not yet graduate),” Bah said,
The students’ president further stated that the health conditions get severe due to lack of utility vehicles for students hence the distance from the campus and town centre is far.
“Sometimes, if a student is seriously sick, it’s challenging to take that person to the health facility. The only vehicle at the campus is the administrative car which is not always available.”
Having a comfortable physical space where students are able to sit comfortably, see and understand what their teacher says, as well as socialise with their fellow classmates, is a major component of a conducive learning environment.
According to Bah, students struggle to buy cash power and each student boarding on campus pay D300 per month as accommodation fee.
When contacted for his reaction, the coordinator of Basse campus Matarr Ceesay said the Gambia College is only running programs. He clarified that students are responsible for their own feeding and accommodations.
The establishment of the Basse campus was to make education accessible to the rural communities.
The Gambia College is a Gambian tertiary institution with campuses located in Banjul, Brikama, Bwiam and Basse. Its was formally called the Yundum Teachers Training College which was founded in 1952.