By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a landmark Press Conference held at the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education Confidence Hall in New England Ville , on Tuesday, February 6th, 2024, a series of strategic initiatives were announced aimed at revolutionizing the nation’s educational landscape. The event, attended by a diverse audience including departmental representatives, Civil Society Organizations, and media houses, served as a pivotal platform for disseminating crucial updates and outlining transformative measures.
Chaired by Minister Chernor Bah, Minister of Information and Civic Education, the conference commenced with groundbreaking announcements, spearheaded by Minister of Higher and Technical Education, Haja Dr. Ramatulai Wurie. Dr. Wurie unveiled plans for the imminent release of the Sierra Leone Grants-in-Aid program, slated for publication on February 6th, 2024. Over 3,000 students are set to benefit from this initiative, reflecting the government’s commitment to supporting educational aspirations.
Moreover, Dr. Wurie addressed concerns regarding the future of the Grant-in-Aid program, assuring the public that reserved components for female STEM students, persons with disabilities, and children of teachers will be safeguarded even as the program phases out. She also announced the gradual rollout of the Student Loan scheme, emphasizing the Ministry’s dedication to ensuring educational accessibility and sustainability.
Highlighting developments in tertiary education, Dr. Wurie announced the commencement of lectures at Kono University, with programs including Mining Engineering, Computer Science, Environmental Science, and Agricultural Science. Utilizing existing resources and infrastructure, the Government is forging ahead with educational initiatives pending the completion of the university’s construction.
Addressing governance issues within universities, particularly at the University of Sierra Leone, Minister Wurie underscored the importance of legal compliance in appointing Pro-Vice-Chancellors. She revealed the dissolution of the University Court based on recommendations from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), citing its ineffectiveness and departure from its mandated responsibilities.
In response to leadership disputes, Professor Lawrence Kamara’s resignation from the contested position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor was acknowledged, paving the way for the establishment of an oversight committee to ensure interim governance and transparency.
Looking ahead, the Ministry outlined plans for an investment conference to bolster the Student Loan scheme through public-private partnerships, demonstrating a proactive approach to addressing financial constraints in education.
As Sierra Leone embarks on a transformative journey which is guided by strategic interventions and collaborative partnerships, the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education’s Press Conference signals a new era of progress and inclusivity in the nation’s educational sector.