The school started as a Faculty of Science and Agriculture (FOSA) in 1999, changed to the Department of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, then to the Department of Agriculture and now the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (SAES) since from the academic year 2009/2010. The school has two
Departments namely, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Sciences. The BSc Environmental Science programme is in fast track as it started during the 2012/2013 academic year first semester with its enrollment on the increase every semester with an overall total of 10 students. The Environmental Science programme and the ongoing programme in Agricultural Science are available for major in the School.
Agriculture supports the livelihood of nearly 70% of the population and contributes on average about 22% of the country’s GDP. The School thus has a major role to play in developing a highly trained human resource required for the development of the country’s agriculture, food security needs and solving environmental problems.
The School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences of the UTG was established with the main goal to provide quality, skill based university degrees in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences that will help build the required national human resource capacity to achieve national development.
The mission of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences of the University of The Gambia is to provide the human resource base required to manage and develop the country’s agriculture and natural resource (land, marine and aquatic) in a sustainable manner in order to provide food, employment, income and recreational resources for the people of The Gambia.
The fundamental goals of the School is to serve the needs of national development by training, producing a skillful manpower, disseminating technology, and the inculcation of the right attitudes and related attributes of learning to our students.
We have realized as a School that Agriculture is an indispensable agent for change and an act of awakening the enormous creative potential that lies within each of us, enabling all of us to develop our fullest potential, and to better contribute to the societies in which we live.
The task of the School is to prepare and equip the students with the knowledge, skills and expertise necessary to enable them individually and collectively play an active role in the agricultural development and environmental consciousness building for the productivity of The Gambia and the world at large.
The School therefore, intends to play a leading role in providing agricultural and environmental education and public service in agriculture and food related disciplines. The intention is to have agricultural production technicians and field workers suitably qualified and equipped in accordance with the requirements for agricultural development works in different career disciplines.
Overall Objectives of the School
To provide the human resources required to manage and develop the country’s national resources (land, marine, aquatic) in a sustainable manner in order to provide food, employment, income and recreational resources for the people of the country. The aim is to provide a suitable and quality education which will prepare students for future studies at Masters and PhD levels at the UTG or other regional and international institutions.
Specific Objectives of the School
Provision of quality education and training through teaching aimed at producing at least 50 graduates per year.
Conduct relevant research aimed at generating new knowledge, while also contributing to providing solutions to pressing challenges at community and national levels.
Providing extension, advisory and consultancy services to public and private institutions as well as rural communities.
Putting in place access programmes, which will enhance gender equity, as well as agricultural and environmental education for all throughout the country.
Providing better knowledge of natural processes as well as of the mechanisms of disturbances of the natural systems in order to effectively prevent or mitigate occurring environmental problems.
BSc Agriculture Programme
The main goal of the BSc Agriculture programme is to produce graduates who are academically skilful, professionally competent and innovative.
The specific objectives of the programme are to:
Equip graduates with broad agricultural knowledge that makes them versatile, more creative and more critical in their reasoning.
Develop relevant skills in the sustainable use of natural resources, for the production of crops and animals, farm management and storage, processing and marketing of agricultural products.
Develop skills in general entrepreneurship development and technology transfer.
Equip students with knowledge and skills for post-graduate training in various fields of specialisation in and out of agriculture.
The curriculum combines applied experiences with a good mix of on campus courses. These include research projects, field attachments and farm practical. There are presently two major programmes leading to the award of a B.Sc. Degree in General Agriculture. They are:
The New Four-Year Programme (Regular)
All the courses are core courses. There is option in the fourth year between crops/soils or animal production option. There are also the GER courses of a total of 27 credit hours. A research project is compulsory for graduation. A minimum of 186 credit hours is needed for graduation. This programme started in the 2007/2008 academic year.
The Two-Year Transition Programme to the B.Sc. Agriculture degree (Integrated curriculum)
This is for candidates who have successfully completed the higher diploma course in agriculture with a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 and above. There are also the GER courses of a total of 27 credit hours for graduation. A research project is compulsory and there is also an option in the final year (year two) for a crops/soils/or animal production bias. A minimum of 92 credit hours is required for graduation.
The GER courses are all at the 100 level and made up of French, English literature, Islamic studies, Philosophy, ICT, Management, Economics and Economics of Development, and Cultural Studies.
BSc Environmental programme
The Environmental Science Programme is meant to equip students with the knowledge and technical skills to identify, analyze, and resolve environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Unlike programs offering degrees in Environmental Studies, UTG's Environmental Science Programme is grounded in the physical and natural sciences, providing students with a solid understanding of the physical properties governing the environment and the mechanisms of disturbances of the life-support system. Students learn not only about environmental issues, but how to use science to find solutions to environmental problems.
Generally, all programmes consist of 120 full credit-hours and lead to the degree of B.Sc. At least 60 credits are necessary for a specialization in Environmental Science. This includes a core of compulsory courses totalling 32 credits. Among the optional/elective courses, 27 credits are chosen which refer to general requirement, and 10 credits to departmental requirement.
OPPORTUNITIES INVOLVED IN OFFERING THE PROGRAMME
The General Agriculture and Environmental Sciences degree programmers’ offered by the School are very good. The following are the major strengths of the programmes:
It equips graduates with broad knowledge in Agriculture that makes them versatile, creative and critical in their reasoning.
It prepares graduates for employment in diverse fields of Agriculture.
Provides relevant theories in agriculture that are related to the job situation.
Provides graduates to become self-employed in agriculture.
Enhances cognitive development.
Enables graduates to branch from one agricultural enterprise or employment to another when necessary.
It will equip graduates with better knowledge of natural process and the mechanism of disturbances of the natural systems.
It prepares graduates to effectively prevent, mitigate or remediate occurring environmental problems.
Generally, the programmes gives students the ability to adapt to any field of endeavor in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences due to its general nature and also broadens student’s opportunities for further studies in any field of specialization.
STRRNGTHS OF THE AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMME
The Department of Agriculture of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is the only National Institution offering a degree level programme in agriculture.
There exists a high level of political support and commitment to assist the Department of Agriculture.
Strong willingness shown by the parent departments of agriculture to provide support and assistance to the programme.
Very supportive university Council and Senate.
A pool of student’s country wide willing to study at UTG.
Excellent cooperation with other partner Institutions such as The Gambia College, National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), International Tripanosomiasis Centre (ITC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE PROGRAMME
Lack of own infrastructure and Physical facilities.
Inadequate human resources (academic and technical staff).
Inadequate financial resources for carrying out academic activities and research.
Lack of an inbuilt training program for staff to attain terminal degrees
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAMME
Inadequate of human resources both academic and technical staff.
Lack of well furnish laboratory for effective and efficient learning.
Inadequate financial resources for carrying out academic activities and research works.
The low enrolment of students to the programme.
ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED BY THE SCHOOL
On July 2015, the school organized 2 day training on integrated soil fertility management. On the first day of the training, farmers were invited from the satellite villages around the Faraba campus and topics of good soil fertility management were discussed.