By: Foday Manneh
The authorities at the Gambia College Basse Annex have described as “totally false and unfounded” reports on social media that students were rushed to hospital after they fainted due to hunger.
“It is not true. I know they are exaggerating things,” declared Matar Ceesay, the College coordinator.
However, Ousman Bah, the president of the Students’ Union Gambia College Basse Annex, has insisted that the Fatu Network report is “factual” and they have evidence to show the conditions prevailing at the college.
However, he would not comment further on the issues in the telephone interview with The Alkamba Times (TAT).
Meanwhile, according to Mr. Ceesay, an asthmatic patient got an attack on Wednesday night and had to be rushed to the hospital. An ambulance was called to pick her up because the college vehicle was away on an official mission. Presently, the patient is well, he said.
On Thursday morning, two students were also taken to the hospital; one was diagnosed with pneumonia, and the other with gastrointestinal issues. “Both are now fine and have returned to class and were taking their lessons at the time I was confirming this story on the Fatu Network,” Ceesay added.
Concerning reports of unrest at the college, since students pay for their feeding on campus, Ceesay stressed that it is not the responsibility of the college to feed the students. However, he said transportation is a significant problem for the students.
“It has been our priority to get a bus that could transport our students since the school’s inception. The new Minister of Higher Education was on tour recently, and we raised it with him that we need transport. It has been promised, and we are hopeful.”
Meanwhile, he continued, they negotiated with the authorities managing the public car park in Basse to allocate special taxis to ease transportation for the students.
“We are using the Sabi vehicles, which are expensive because, whether you are going to Sabi or not, you pay D25. We have tried providing a special vehicle that could transport the students from the town to the campus for D10, but that did not continue as the driver ended up leaving for another thing.”
Asked about the accommodation issue, Ceesay explained that the dormitories were built by the “Brighter Future Foundation,” whereas MRC Holland coordinated the college construction.
So the foundation is responsible for the accommodation of students, and those interested in staying at the dormitories pay D300 per month. Those not interested rent houses and remain in Sabi or the town of Basse. “Colleges do not manage students’ dormitories; they are owned by private individuals,” according to Ceesay.