By Foday Moriba Conteh
Friday 17 January 2020 will go down the annals of history of the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) polytechnic as a turning point a date that will be remembered when aggrieved and frustrated students of the Polytechnic’s three campuses demonstrated peacefully over the undue delay by the authorities to transform the college into a Technical University which they asserted is long overdue.
However, the timely intervention of the Principal of the Polytechnic, Dr. Philip John Kanu, pacified the students as otherwise the situation could have degenerated into chaos and violence.
The students displayed placards some of which read, ‘Transformation of MMCET into a Technical University is long overdue,’ ‘Professor Aiah Gbakima Must Go,’ ‘We Are Tired With the Long Wait,’ ‘The Other Colleges That Have Been Transformed to Universities Are Not Better Than Us’ and ‘We are Tired with NCTVA.’
The students further stated that some of the best students at Fourah Bay College, the Institute of Public Administration and Management and other institutions of higher learning in the country are products of Milton Margai College and threatened to march along the main streets of Freetown to the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education in a week’s time if the college is not transformed into a Technical University accusing the college’s administration of doing little or nothing to pressurize the authorities to take action for which they would no longer listen to the administration.
The Governor of the Congo Cross campus, David Kamara revealed that the college has the manpower and facilities to be transformed into a Technical University citing the equipped workshops, the state-of-the-art laboratory that can even conduct DNA tests and refurbished classrooms, hotels and library in addition to the conducive learning environment in all the three campuses of the polytechnic.
Addressing the aggrieved students, Dr. Kanu articulated that President Dr. Julius Maada Bio values education, the reason education is his flagship project to create change in the lives of the people, assured them that their protests would not go in vain, entreated them to exercise patience as the college administration has appealed to the Tertiary Education Commission for a university status, observed that the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education recently issued a press release that the college, the Freetown Teachers’ College and the Eastern Polytechnic would not be transformed into universities that resulted to students at the Eastern Polytechnic protesting causing the Ministry to withdraw the unfortunate press release.
Dr. Kanu further guaranteed the students that Government would address the issue with priority, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that students at the Brookfields Campus wanted to block Jomo Kenyatta Road as a sign of protest and appealed to them to continue with their classes asserting that the President is very sensitive to their plight reiterating that something would soon happen as the application is now with the Tertiary Education Commission and that nothing will stop the college from being transformed into a Technical University.