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Islamic Online University Chancellor Visits UTG Vice Chancellor

On Friday 10 February 2017, the Chancellor and founder of the Islamic Online University (IOU), Dr. Bilal Philips and the Acting Vice Chancellor, Dr. Cherno Omar Barry, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, paid a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor of the UTG, Prof. Anjum at his Office,the UTG Chancery, MDI Road, Kanifing.  VC Anjum and his Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Dr. Momodou Jane, welcomed the guest and emphasized on the need for collaboration between the UTG and IOU.  According to Dr. Philips, the purpose of their visit was to explore possible areas of collaboration with the UTG especially on joint programmes. The UTG VC mentioned that the UTG intends to introduce a Bachelor of Science in Halal science in the near future. Dr. Philips shared his experience and efforts on collaborating with scholars in Pakistan and Malaysia on programmes in Halal Sciences.He also stressed upon the lack of commitment he has found in appointing someone to be an active part of this initiative. He implored VC Anjum to assist him in networking with a qualified individual to serve as the focal person in Halal Sciences. In his response, VC Anjum assured him of his full support in providing the curriculum and recommending someone.

Dr. Philips also recommended close collaboration on joint online programmes with the UTG, using his six-years of university experience in online programme preparation, and the IOU stressing the latter could be of immense support to the UTG in preparing online courses. He added that IOU is not in competition with the UTG but that both institutions should seek to complement and support each other in order to reach the unreachable.  For his part, acting VC Barry of the IOU emphasized the need for the two institutions’ collaboration to be complementary and of a mutual interest that would result in the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to formalize the collaboration. According to VC Barry, the proposed MOA will focus on resource sharing, joint research and programmes.  He further emphasized that higher education in the Gambia is mainly centered within the urban areas. He also said it would require a strong partnership between the public and private universities in order to breach the gap between rural and urban Gambia through a hybrid online programme to enhance and promote access to higher education throughout the country and beyond.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Philips said recent research has shown that in the US about 80% of those who graduate from university had done some courses online. Prof. Anjum for his part concluded by commending both Dr. Bilal Philips and Dr. Barry for the visit and for identifying UTG as a partner for collaboration. He reassured them of his full cooperation to establish and enforce the agreement.