One Hundred and Fifteen (115) students graduated from the Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) on Saturday 28th January, 2023 through its Skills Development Fund (SDF) project funded by the World Bank through the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education.
The auspicious ceremony took place at the Hotel and Tourism Training Center, Brookfields in Freetown where the 115 students graduated in Tourism, Hotel Management and Innovation.
It must be noted that the sector is female dominated with 70% female and 30% male students. The students graduated in various areas including Confectionery, Fashion and Tailoring, Hospitality, Innovation, Food and Beverage, Food Production and Services and Tourism Management.
The Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Dr. Alpha Wurie, in his keynote address, reiterated that the trend is now on technical education after 196 years of the grammar school type of education in the country, that the project developed skills development and systems, trained 21,000 nationwide out of which 4,900 are already employed and that the project focuses on youths, women and the disadvantaged.
According to the Minister, the curriculum was also reviewed to address all the gaps in the job market maintaining that the graduates are the pioneers who have passion for technical education and that the Ministry would focus on the best.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Director of Academic Affairs, MMTU, Dr. Mohamed Alie Jalloh commended the Minister of Education and team for all what they have done to midwife the MMTU, that this is the first of several graduations, that they take their mandate very seriously as the institution wants to diversify and differentiate from other institutions of higher learning and assured that the graduates would not be job seekers but job creators as well as entrepreneurs.
He furthered that the graduates are the best among the rest and hoped that they would pursue higher courses up to Masters and PhD levels.
In his overview of the SDP project, Dr. Alhaji Sankoh recalled that it was launched on the 17th March, 2021 to train 400 students in four years in tourism, hotel management and entrepreneurship, that the objectives of the project are to among others review the existing curriculum to meet the market demand, that review of the curriculum was robust, that they talked to past students nationwide about their challenges as well as those in the sector, prepared lesson plans and curriculum mapping and revealed that they now have a working plan.
Dr. Sankoh went on to inform that they also partnered with existing operators as well as incorporated them into the project, repaired facilities, printed training materials, procured safety gears for staff and students and underscored that the graduates are of high quality.
He went on to assert that MMTU is a force to be reckoned with and that MMTU would maintain its self-sponsorship skills, engage in income generating activities such as catering services and use of its workshops.
Komba Moiwa from the National Council for Technical/Vocational and other Academic Awards (NCTVA) disclosed that technical education is now the norm worldwide, that it is relevant to national development especially the President’s human capital development that underlines technical education.
Dr. Philip John Kanu, Vice Chancellor and Principal of MMTU disclosed that they want to create impact in the middle-level power needs of the country as well a teacher education that is the foundation of the institution, that they have received a lot of support from the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education stressing that the Ministry has repositioned itself to support technical education and urged the graduates to continue with their Masters and PhDs and don’t change their courses of study.
The Chancellor of MMTU, Dr. Victor Kabia presented certificates to the graduates assisted by the Acting Dean, Faculty of Hotel Tourism and Nutritional Sciences, Ms. Aminata Bangura.
Highlights of the ceremony were the presentation of certificates to the graduates, procession of graduates to the venue, performances by the brass band, musical performance by a student, Michael Mahoi and the vote of thanks by a student, Ms. Annie Turay.