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Tourism school upgrade to raise industry bar

Gambia’s minister for Tourism and Culture, Madam Nancy Njie has said that ongoing plans to transform the Gambia Hotel School are expected to transform the school into a regional centre of excellence.
Madam Njie said this yesterday at the graduation ceremony of 115 graduates of the hospitality school who have completed training in various aspects of the hospitality industry including Reception, Housekeeping, Restaurant and Bar and Cookery and Pastry, held at the school on MDI Road, Kanifing.

According to the minister, the Tourism and Culture ministry is committed to improving the the standard of service delivery in the hospitality industry. To do this, she said that government has a dream of transforming the Gambia Hotel School into a tourism and hospitality industry which will in the future become a regional centre of excellence for tourism and hospitality education.

She said that a World Bank-The Gambia growth and competitiveness project is currently conducting a survey on the transformation of the Hotel School, noting that upon completion, “this project would realize the full transformation of the Hotel school in to a regional centre of excellence for tourism and hospitality education.”

While calling on all stakeholders to support the achievement of these goals, Madam Njie also called on the graduating students to remain steadfast and be good role models in their professional pursuits. She then wished them success in their endeavours.

Delivering his annual report, Mr. David H. Joof, the principal of the School said that 115 students were graduating from the school, out of which 9 are from The Gambia Armed Forces. According to him, all of them had successfully completed their professional training and had fulfilled all the requirements for the award of certificates in their areas of specialization. He said among the 115 graduates, 21 are graduating as Receptionist, 27 students from the Housekeeping, 38 from the Restaurant and Bar and 29 from the Cookery and Pastry programmes.

He said these graduates had received both practical and theoretical training that had professionally prepared them for the delivery of standard quality services in the services industry.

He described the year 2009 as a turning point for the Hotel school, as it has culminated to the starting of the much needed management training programme, which started in July. He said in this initiative, 15 management staffs had been trained to the award of a Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management (OTHM), noting that with this undertaking, he had no doubts that it would bridge the gap for the management training needs of the industry.

He then commended the Spanish government for the support in the construction of a training hotel, as it would go a long way in providing training for young people who are interested in making a career in the hospitality industry. He also commended the government of The Gambia and the Tourism ministry for providing them the necessary support.

In his farewell address, Abdoulie Jallow, the president of the Hotel School students, said they are equipped professionally to be able to provide standard service to any hotel in The Gambia and elsewhere in the Diaspora. He said this graduation also gave them the opportunity to be able to render service to the hotels in order to be able to play their quarters in nation building.

He commended the teachers who left no stone unturned in impacting a sense of knowledge and good morals as well as providing them with a homeostatic atmosphere in the school as they bid farewell to each other.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the principal and the entire staffs for their tireless support. They are wonderful and very experienced; they had our welfare at heart and assisted us immensely at work.” Jallow noted.

Advising his colleagues, Abdoulie Jallow said they owed moral responsibilities in preserving the good name of the school.

“As we are the ambassadors of the noble institution, we should be mindful of our conducts not to tarnish the image of the school.” He said.

He finally appealed to the hotel managers in the country to consider these graduates the moment they knock at their offices for employment.

“I am appealing to the hotel managers to take great care of the hotel school students during their attachment and consider them in terms of employment and promotions,” as he said the hotel industry is a service industry which depends on well trained staff who are not reluctant to serve with diligence and high honor.

Speaking at the occasion, the guest speaker, Dr. Saja Taal a renowned sociologist and lecturer at the University of The Gambia said quality education should be valued, because with the right productions in education, people would be able to make right choices for themselves. He opined that education has to be relevant to all walks of life.

Dr. Taal who noted that there is need for women to be active partakers of development processes challenged the various colleges operating in the country to give education which is relevant to present day challenges. He said that there should no longer be gender bias in the type of courses that ladies could enter for in colleges.

While stressing the need to provide females with technological knowledge, he also hinted that girls who shy away from courses like Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics form part of the major constraints militating against technological advancement of the female folk in our society. He finally implored the authorities that are in charge of providing education to ladies to train them in the arts of science as the country is in a hunger for female engineers, doctors and scientists and that the Vision 2020 depends on the country’s grasp of science and technology.

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