The Honourable Minister of Technical and Higher Education Other Ministers of Government here present Honourable Members of Parliament My Lord Chief Justice and Members of the Judiciary Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps Members of the University of Sierra Leone Court and Senate Members of Court and Senate of other Universities here present...
It gives me great pleasure this morning to welcome you all to the 2021/22 Congregation of the University of Sierra Leone. When I was re-appointed in September 2022. I was mandated to guide the University of Sierra Leone towards the attainment of a World class research entity and to create a culture that promotes innovative teaching and learning methods that anchor on an effective quality assurance system....
The University of Sierra Leone, through the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) has on Tuesday, 16th May 2023 unveiled a historic partnership with the University of West of Scotland. The signing ceremony, which took place on the 3rd Floor of the main building of IPAM Campus situated at E.J. Momoh Street, Tower Hill in Freetown is geared towards opening up and expanding opportunities for capacity building in Quality Management Systems as per international standards – ISO9001. The move came after the announcement by the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone, Brigadier-General, Prof. Foday Sahr of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of West Scotland in April this year.
In her welcome statement as the Deputy Vice Chancellor of IPAM, Associate Professor Miriam Conteh-Morgan expressed her appreciation to the institutions that made the signing of the MoU and unveiling of the partnership possible, noting that UNIDO, EU, and the University of West of Scotland were the key players in the agreement.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor of the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS), Prof. Mohamed Samai, who deputised for the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of USL pointed out that UNIDO and its partners made the right choice by choosing IPAM as the hub for the execution of the training and capacity building programme, adding that IPAM as the business entity of USL has a productive and successful “Short Course and Consultancy Unit” that has an excellent history of organising timely training courses for local and sub-regional organisations. Prof. Samai further assured the training partners and other stakeholders members present at the ceremony of USL’s commitment in fulfilling its obligations and in ensuring that the details in the partnership agreement become positively visible in the academic and administrative activities of the university, which he said would have massive impacts on other sectors such as the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In his efforts to contextualise the agreement as an undertaking that would be of benefit to the entire education sector in Sierra Leone, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie said that the partnership would serve as a critical tool in injecting quality measures in the technical and higher education institutions in Sierra Leone, the number which he noted has increased in the last five years to meet the massive increase in the quest to attain technical and higher education in the country.
The Programme Lead of the MSc in Quality Management Systems at the University of West of Scotland, Dr. Evi Visa expressed her incitement over the partnership between her University and USL, noting that the two institutions can utilise their rich history of educational successes to collaborate in improving training, teaching, and research among other areas.
In his analysis of the technical benefits of the partnership between the University of West of Scotland and the University of Sierra Leone and by extension, Sierra Leone as a country, the Chief Technical Advisor at the UNIDO Country Office in Sierra Leone, Dr. Shankat Hussain said the comprehensive implementation of the details of the partnership agreement has the potential of increasing productivity in the activities of USL, and to also enhance the knowledge and skills of individuals and businesses within SME sector in Sierra Leone .
Mr. Josephus Sawyerr, the Representative from Tertiary Education Commission (TEC); Mr Brima Bah, the Deputy Registrar of FBC who chaired the event; the Representative from the European Union (EU); and the Representative from the Ministry of Trade and Industry all discussed the timely importance of the partnership agreement in enhancing quality management systems in various sectors in the country.
Meanwhile, through the support of an EU-funded project being implemented by UNIDO WACOMP (West Africa Competitiveness Project), the MoU aims to establish a collaborative partnership between the two institutions in the field of quality management. This partnership presents significant benefits not only for the sustainability of WACOMP’s objective of creating a quality culture in the country but also for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the economy of Sierra Leone.
By providing training and capacity-building programmes in quality management systems as per international standards, i.e., ISO9001, the University of Sierra Leone (IPAM) and the University of West of Scotland aim to enhance the knowledge and skills of individuals and businesses within the SME sector in Sierra Leone and the West African sub-region.
ISO9001 is described as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system used by organisations to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.
The ceremony was climaxed by the official signing of the partnership agreement between the University of West of Scotland and the University of Sierra Leone.
The University of Sierra Leone (USL) in collaboration with the Nigerian Association for Educational Administration and Planning (NAEAP), Lagos State Chapter, Lagos State University (LASU) Branch has hosted a three-day educational conference on the theme: Educational Research in Sub-Sahara Africa from Tuesday, 22nd May to Thursday, 24th May 2023 at the Multi-purpose Hall situated at Fourah Bay College Campus Mount Aureol in Freetown.
The Conference featured the presentation of papers, including virtual/online sessions by academics on eleven sub-themes, including but not limited to Collaborative Research as a means to Guarantee Security and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Technology and Innovation in Promoting Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Law and Policy Studies for Security and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In his welcome statement as the chief host of the Conference, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal (VC&P) of USL, Brig. Gen. Prof Foday Sahr extended his appreciation to NAEAP for collaborating with USL to organise what he referred to as “a timely and important conference with a theme that has the potential to positively transform the academic landscape in universities around Sub- Sahara Africa.” He also expressed his optimism about the conference being a springboard for several productive academic collaborative activities between the two institutions.
Responding to the comments by the VC&P of USL, the host of the conference, Prof. M.O.B. Mohammed who is also President of NAEAP, LASU Branch said that NAEAP was very pleased to have received acceptance from USL to host the conference, noting that it is a privilege owing to the rich academic history of USL in Sub-Sahara Africa. He also expressed thanks and appreciation to everyone who contributed to making the conference a success.
Delivering her keynote address, Dr. Oyeyemi Iyabo Ayoola, Chairperson, NAEAP Lagos Chapter, succinctly discussed the educational and economic importance of organising conferences of such magnitude, adding that the conference theme, Educational Research in Sub-Saharan Africa aimed at establishing answers to, “how educational research has helped Sub-Sahara African Society and its citizens in attaining growth and developments; the state of educational research in Sub-Sahara Africa, and how government and other stakeholders leverage innovation and collaborative security network systems towards development in the area of academic research.’’
She also acknowledged the numerous challenges in accessing quality education in Africa and suggested that it would take the genuine and robust efforts of all relevant stakeholders in the educational sector to further situate Sub-Sahara Africa among the best that provide accessible and quality education in the world.
Making their goodwill messages during the conference, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Fourah Bay College (FBC), Prof. Kelleh Gbawuru Mansaray; the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) , Prof. Miriam Conteh-Morgan; former VC&P of USL, Prof. Ekundayo Thompson; former Deputy Vice Chancellor of IPAM, Prof. Alison A. Sesay; the Chairperson of the Opening Ceremony of the Conference, Dr. Fatmatta Taqi, and other distinguished personalities present discussed the importance of educational research to academic development and also encouraged the establishment of productive partnerships among universities in the region in order to generate timely, organized, and useful data that would contribute to academic advancement in Sub-Sahara Africa.
The conference climaxed with the establishment of the NAEAP, Sierra Leone Chapter including the appointment of its interim executive members with the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Ronnie Frazer-Williams as President.
The University of Sierra Leone (USL) has held multiple Congregation ceremonies for the 2021/22 Academic Year for its three constituent colleges of Fourah Bay College (FBC), the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), and the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) together with the School of Postgraduate Studies on the 12th, 13th and 14th April 2023 respectively at the Samuel Adjai Crowther Amphitheatre, Fourah Bay College Campus.
In his address during the three-day Congregation, the Chancellor of the University, Dr. James Sanpha Koroma expressed his delight in being a part of what he described as a “memorable day.” The Chancellor also expressed his gratitude to the Vice Chancellor and Principal and members of the academic and administrative staff “for their invaluable contribution to making this day a reality.”
He congratulated the graduands for achieving their objectives, noting that the journey must have been long and hectic but that they were able to overcome all hurdles at the end. “”The degrees, diplomas and certificates to be awarded confirm your readiness for the world of work and your resolve to attain higher heights in your various chosen careers. I wish you well in your future endeavours,” the Chancellor added.
The Chancellor pointed out that the University had carried out what it termed as a “Re-engineering process” which he said culminated in the creation of new faculties and departments. He said as a result of such a bold move, the University of Sierra Leone has opened up access to more students than before, adding that for the 2022/2023 academic year, a total of 8,109 students were admitted of which 4,134 were female. He said this was an indication that the University had not only achieved gender parity in its admission processes but had also now admitted more female students admitted their male counterparts.
The Chancellor also noted that the University of Sierra Leone has strengthened its research activities with a view to “promoting the advancement and spread of learning and knowledge, in line with the needs and aspirations of the people of Sierra Leone”.
In his speech to the graduands and guests attending the Congregation, the Vice Chancellor and Principal (VC&P) of the University of Sierra Leone, Brig. Gen. Prof. Foday Sahr said when he was re-appointed as Vice-Chancellor and Principal in September 2022, he as mandated “to guide the University of Sierra Leone toward the attainment of a World-class research entity and to create a culture that promotes innovative teaching and learning methods that anchor on an effective quality assurance system”. He pointed out that in the fulfillment of that mandate, the activities of his administration comprised what he referred to as the re-invigoration of impactful research with the University; supporting and investing in technology-driven processes in teaching and learning, and strengthening the administrative and financial systems by exploiting alternative income generation and prudent financial management.
He pointed out that the theme for the 2021/22 Academic Year’s Congregation is, “The University’s Role in Increasing Access to Higher Education”, adding that the theme resonates with the university’s activities over the years which include but is not limited to curriculum review, open and distance learning, capacity building, research and innovation, and quality assurance with a subscription to a plagiarism app called Turnitin. The Vice-Chancellor noted that for a start, all masters and PhD Theses would be subjected to the Turnitin app check for plagiarism in accordance with International best practices.
The VC&P expressed his gratitude to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, who is visitor to the University, for the support provided to the University through the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education. He also thanked the Hon. Minister of Technical and Higher Education and his team for “providing the necessary guidance in terms of policies and the provision of scholarship for the training of our staff.”
Prof Sahr also thanked parents and partners, including other government ministries and agencies for their continued support to the University and congratulated the graduands for their academic accomplishments.
In conclusion, Brig. Gen. Prof Foday Sahr recognised the presence of University colleagues from the University of Liberia, Rev. Prof. Julius Sawolo Nelson and his team; Dr. Dinesh Shukla, The Chancellor and Founding President of the American International University, West Africa, and Dr. Momodou Lamin Tarro, the Registrar of the University of the Gambia who represented Prof. Herbert Robinson, the Vice Chancellor of that Institution. He also recognised and saluted the Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of Sister Universities and all members of the Conference of Vice Chancellors and Principals in the country.
The Congregation ceremony climaxed with the award of an Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) to the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Fatima Bio.
Meanwhile, a total number of Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty students graduated from the three constituent colleges of the University of Sierra Leone and the School of Post-Graduate Studies with the following breakdown:
FBC – 1,800
IPAM – 1,300
COMAHS – 300
SPS – 240.
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