For standard and quality assurance of all qualifications, the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA) recently reviewed and validated the Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia’s (ITTOG) performing arts, cookery and pastry curriculum.
The review and validation program held at the NAQAA office in Kanifing brought together distinguished cultural experts who had served in various positions of trust in the cultural sector including Modou Joof, Tejan Camara, Cornelius Gomez, Milton the president of the union, Chef Bojang president of Chefs Association, officials of YEP, Food Safety, GT Board, Medical and Health, GTHI, ITTOG, NCAC among others.
Art Education was sponsored by ACP-EU Culture Program: Support for the Cultural and Creative Sectors in West Africa (AWA).
Sheikh Tejan Nyang, Head of School speaking on behalf of Adama Bah, the chairman of ITTOG’s board of directors, disclosed that the review and validation of the curriculum is a milestone in the history of the institute.
As an institution that for years is specialized in travel and tourism studies, he said they have always been looking at areas that could bridge the gap between tourism, the Arts, and culture which of cause includes the “teaching of our cuisine linked to an international audience or market.”
Tourism being a very competitive industry it is therefore important for training institutions like ITTOG to look at areas that the younger generation will be trained “that make us unique as a destination. And what makes us unique is nothing more than our Arts and Culture. Though, in The Gambia we have a long way to go in these areas,” the Head of School stated. According to him, this led the institute to search for knowledge and support in building the creative and performing arts by signing an agreement with the famous Senegalese School of Arts known as Ecole National Des Arts. Such a partnership will help forge links with prominent Senegalese artists in various areas of performing arts, he affirmed.
He noted that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and NCAC in particular has been very helpful from the very beginning. Noting that, the area of Arts and culture is very wide but ITTOG, he said, will work with all stakeholders that want to work with them.
In brief, he said the institute applied for funding from the ACP-EU Culture Program: Support for The Cultural and Creative Sectors in West Africa (AWA) to sponsor hands-on training for 30 young people in the performing Arts, which they called ‘Art Education for Change.’
Among other things, the project will help the institute to start an Art Education department at ITTOG. “This will be the first in The Gambia. In partnership with Ecole National Des Arts (ENA) of Senegal, the project will develop the relevant curriculum in Level 3 Diploma in the performing arts and the second year develop Level 3 Advance Diploma Course,” he explained.
On this, he confirmed that they secured sponsorship funding for only one year with the hope that in the second year they will be assisted by local institutions like NCAC to subsidize the tuition fees of the students.
For the certificate in Basic Culinary Art and Food Processing, Mr Nyang was emphatic that they have piloted this course in the teaching of Cookery, Pastry and Food Processing again for 30 women, a project called ‘No Woman Left Behind.’ He disclosed that the project was supported by the Catalan Agency for Cooperation and Development.
However, to implement the project the institute partnered with a Spanish NGO called ETHNICS. He, therefore, thanked NAQAA, YEP, ACP-EU-project (AWA), Ms. Helen Wilcockson ITTOG partners in Nottingham, UK, and ITTOG staff for their support, contributions toward the review and validation of the documents which would serve as a valuable tool towards the development of Performing Arts and the Hospitality industry.
Addressing the reviewers at the workshop, Lamin B Manneh, the Director of Quality Assurance at NAQAA praised the ITTOG for a job well done, saying they have lightened the job for its authority by taking the initiative to develop the training standard for reviewing and validation to become a teaching curriculum.
After validation, he said the institute and other institutes doing similar programs but with less standard curriculum can use it.
NAQAA as a custodian, the authority’s materials are always used by other institutions running similar programs, especially those that are not having similar standard curricula, he added.