‘Our Previous Release Was Not Misleading’: GASAM Fires Back At MoHERST

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The leadership of the Gambian Students Association in Morocco has fired back at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology after the Ministry described their earlier press release as ‘misleading and ‘laced with malice,’ accusing them of diverting public attention from their pressing matter.

“We want to emphasize that our previous release was not misleading or based on malice. The Ministry’s claim that the stipends will arrive next week confirms their lateness. It is essential to prioritize resolving the stipend delays to ensure that we can continue our education without unnecessary obstacles, rather than trying to deviate the attention to issues they are well acquainted with.”

On the Ministry’s claim that there are students who will proceed for further studies without clearance or stay beyond their prescribed timeframe sponsored by the Ministry, the student leadership in Morocco refuted the claim and clarified. 

“We would like to clarify and assure the public that contrary to the press release of the ministry, numerous requests have been sent to the ministry through The Embassy of the Republic of The Gambia in Morocco, seeking clearance for students to continue their advanced degree programs after completing their Bachelor’s degrees. After several negotiations, the association obtained approval from the ministry through the embassy for students to proceed with their higher education pursuits. Moreover, the intervention of the Gambian Embassy in Morocco for these same students to receive the Moroccan government stipend was considered a legitimate authorization for the students to continue their education. This has been the approach between the Ministry and the said students for the past years. There are evidences available to this fact. In addition, some of the courses given to students since in The Gambia are five-year programs which consist of both Bachelors and Masters at one go. These, in fact, make up the larger chunk of Masters students here in the kingdom.”

“With regards to the Ministry’s position on students staying beyond the prescribed timeframe, it is important to establish the following facts;

First, before the pandemic of COVID-19, students do not start their academic year immediately after they arrive in Morocco. They must stay in Rabat for almost an entire academic year to learn French to integrate into the Moroccan educational system. It is also worth highlighting that, since the pandemic hit, new students learn French in The Gambia, which is not ideal for the required fluency to take on a program in the said language. In addition, they are kept in the Gambia due to administrative work until the end of the first semester of the academic year,” the release added.

The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology discovered that some students would proceed to further studies in Morocco without clearance from the Ministry or stay longer than the prescribed period stipulated in the scholarship.

“… we wish to inform the public that the information trending is misleading and laced with malice. The Ministry discovered that some students would complete their undergraduate programs and continue to pursue advanced studies in the same programs without clearance from the Ministry. It has also come to light that some students could not finish their programs during the prescribed timeframe. At the same time, they continue to benefit from stipend payments in their fifth and sixth years of studies in programs they are supposed to complete in four years. These facts must be established.”

The Ministry said students would be paid their stipends next week in a press statement saying only students under the Ministry’s scholarship will be paid. 

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