The director general of the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI), Tuesday revealed that the Institute's operation budget for 2011 was D26, 984, 110, with the government providing about 40% of the overall operation budget for the year under review as against 36% for the previous year .
Abdoulie MA Loum made this revelation while presenting the institution's Annual Activity Report and Audited Financial Statement for the years ended 31st December 2011 before the Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise Committee (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly.
He explained that subvention to the Institute budgeted by government was D10, 704, 951.39 which was received in full, with government providing about 40% of the overall operation budget. "The Institute also received D3, 439, 821.60 from a total project fund of D11, 466, 072 from the Social Development Fund (SDF) as part of its mandate to enhance the capacity of GTTI for the long-term sustainability of skills training in The Gambia and for the training of women and girls in male-dominated skills and other areas," he said.
Loum informed the Committee that GTTI continues to receive subvention from government through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, adding that funds were raised from tuition fees, contracts and consultancies undertaken by some of the departments. He said GTTI was established by an Act of Parliament in 1980 to provide training opportunities for the middle and sub-professional levels of the technical and vocational human resource requirements of the country. He explained that the Institute began operations in 1983 with the provision of craft level programmes in a variety of technical and commercial disciplines with qualifications awarded by external examination bodies.
He continued: "GTTI now provides the highest level of technical and vocation education and training available in The Gambia. Over the years, the Institute has expanded its programmes from the original craft level provision to full technological certificates; from Pitman and RSA programmes to AAT, ABE and ACCA programmes in business studies; from initial and further education teacher training to higher teacher training and now an introduction of higher national diplomas and Bachelor's in collaboration with University of The Gambia."
Loum further stated that GTTI in its resolve to implement the Gambia government's blueprint on PAGE, recognises the fact that human resources development directed towards achieving a pool of skilled and self-reliant craftsmen, technicians and technologists depend on a number of factors including: Investment in human resources training and development; and the demand for knowledge and skills by the industries among others.
He added: "Therefore, significant progress has been made in responding to client needs and stimulating economic growth through the provision of quality training and GTTI will continue to work with the University of the Gambia towards the full integration of tertiary education system in The Gambia and to introduce Bachelor's Degree programmes in all the technical areas."
He assured that GTTI will continue its proactive response to the changing development needs, employment opportunities and realities of the nation and continue to aim at increasing its contribution towards national development by expanding the Institute's range of training programmes to cater for all potential clients and the development of higher level programmes.
Loum told the Committee that GTTI's strategic direction continues to focus on developing its capacity to deliver quality training programmes up to higher levels and organising customised courses for both the public and private sectors of the economy. "Our main focus now is to transform the Institute to offer higher level training programmes through the integration process of tertiary institutions in collaboration with the UTG," he said.
As the Institute continues to attract more prospective students, Loum said the need for expansion of its facilities has become more apparent. This, he said, is in consideration of the growing number of school leavers demanding for places for further studies and those persons aspiring for professional development.
"At present the Institute lacks the required number of highly qualified academic, professional and administrative Gambian staff. The institute continues to pursue the development and implementation of high-level programmes and has started with the HND programmes in selected technical areas in which many staff are currently enrolled," Loum further told the Committee.
He said GTTI continues to forge with various partners both, local and international, as these have provided the Institute with support in the provision of additional resources and capacity building for both staff and students.
He finally highlighted capacity building, infrastructural development, provision of higher-level training, and the need to increment of government subvention as the main constraints confronting GTTI.
Speaking earlier, Amadou Gigo, chairman of the Board of Governors of GTTI, said 2011 was relatively a good year in terms of capacity building, improvement in the general financing standing of the Institute; increase in academic performance indicators, especially the high rate registered in enrollment retention and graduation, slight progress in female enrollment number, better and bigger bilateral cooperation and joint-ventures, and moderate development in infrastructure. "GTTI embarked on the construction of a four-classroom block storey building, perimeter fencing and refurbishment of classrooms, workshops and laboratories," he revealed.
He said the goodwill and vision are ever present, but without the necessary human and financial resources, it is going be difficult to achieve meaningful results that measure up to their expectation and pride. To this end, Gigo appealed to government to significantly increase its subvention to GTTI so as to enable the Institute hire well-educated lecturers and acquire state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. "Given the fact that many of the skilled-area industries continue to be dominated by foreigners, it is imperative that we make the necessary investments in training our people and equipping them with knowledge that will make them very attractive to industries looking for skilled labour," he added.
Ibrahima Sanyang, a senior compliance officer from the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), said GTTI was found to be mainly compliant with the Public Procurement Act and Regulations during the year under review.
Members and subject matter specialists then raised questions, concerns, observations, and recommendations, which were responded to by the GTTI officials before adopting the report.
Meanwhile, PAC/PEC will resume sittings on the 7th January, 2013, as the National Assembly will begin the 2013 budget debate session on 3rd December 2012.