By Foday Moriba Conteh
On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, accompanied by her Deputy, Sarjoh Aziz-Kamara, undertook a comprehensive tour of selected facilities at the Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone. Led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kelleh G. Mansaray and his team, the visit aimed to provide insights into the ongoing developments within the esteemed institution.
The tour commenced with a welcome by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kelleh G. Mansaray, at the Administrative Building’s entrance. The Minister and her team explored various key areas, including the Water Reservoir, the Work Bank Building Project near the Amphitheatre, the UNIPOD Project, and the recently rehabilitated stairway adjacent to the Kennedy Building etc.
Briefing the Minister, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Fourah Bay College, Professor Kelleh G. Mansaray, said that he has spent one year six months in office as the 25th Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Fourah Bay College.
He said that his administration really sorts to build collaboration and affiliation with national and international universities, schools, Government and Non-Governmental institutions through visitations, signing MOUs and holding strategic engagements.
Professor Kelleh G. Mansaray noted that as a result of some of their collaboration, World Bank, has supported the college with a $200,000grant facilitated by the Ministry of Transport and Aviation for the Work Bank Building Project at the college.
He added that through the UNIPOD Project, UNDP has supplied $600,000 worth of equipment to the college and will be official opened earlier 2024, adding that the college has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Zoodlabs to provide internet service on campus.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor also said that FBC has also signed an agreement with NP-Sierra Leone for the construction of a Gas Station and a Mini market which will be operated by the college administration.
He also informed the Minister that with the current Police Post the college has he is pleased to inform all that the college has also constructed a new Police Post to address security issues at the lecturers’ quarters.
Underscoring some of the challenges, he said one of the major challenges the college faces is power supply followed by internet connectivity, water supply in the dry season, insufficient hostels, poor road network leading to the college and transportation, stating that the college with over 15, 000 students and staff only has 2 buses.
In her remarks, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie commended the Fourah Bay College administration for extending an invitation to the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education in order for the Ministry to see first-hand what the administration has been doing in transforming the educational sector and to restore the full potential of the college as the Athens of West Africa.
She said that the visit also provides an opportunity for them to celebrate the achievements at the college, adding that what they have seen so far is worth celebrating as it shows how they are intentional about how the college should been seen.
Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie commended the administration for the timely commencement of the 2023/2024academic year of which she encouraged members of staff to adhere to the calendar of events.
She said that she was pleased to see some of the projects the college has designed and currently implementing that speak to the needs of the college.
Giving the vote of thanks, the President of the Fourah Bay College Students’ Union Government, Alfred Sesay, commended the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie and her Deputy, Sarjoh Aziz-Kamara, for taking their time to embark on the conducted tour of the college.
He highlighted some of the activities undertaken by the administration towards addressing the concerns of students but said, however, there are still challenges faced by students of which he appealed to the administration to work tirelessly towards addressing them.