UNIVERSITY OF SIERRA LEONE ADDRESS BY PROFESSOR EKUNDAYO J. D. THOMPSON
BA DIP ED; DIP ADULT EDUCATION (SIERRA LEONE); BA ED, MED (HULL, UK); DED (SOUTH AFRICA) ACTING VICE CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL TO CONGREGATION FOR THE CONFERMENT OF DEGREES AND AWARD OF DIPLOMAS AND CERTIFICATES FOR THE 2015/2016 ACADEMIC YEAR ON SATURDAY 22ND APRIL 2017 AT THE ADJAI CROWTHER AMPHITHEATRE FOURAH BAY COLLEGE MOUNT AUREOL
Greetings, and Welcome to you all!
Deputy Chairman of the Court of the University of Sierra Leone
Representative of the Minister of Education, Science and Technology
Ministers of Government
Members of Parliament
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps
The Chairman, Tertiary Education Commission
Deputy Vice-Chancellors of Fourah Bay College, the Institute of Public Administration and Management and the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences
Heads of Tertiary Education Institutions
Heads of Agencies and Departments
Our Honoured Guests
Deans of Faculties
Heads of Departments, Institutes and Directorates
Members of the Fourth Estate
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Theme: Managing for Results
In my Address to Congregation on the 16th of April 2016, I spoke on the Theme: Maintaining and Promoting the Efficiency of the University. “Maintaining and promoting the efficiency of the University” is the primary function of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, according to Section 15, Sub Section 3 of The Universities Act 2005. This function is in the context of the core mandates of the University namely, Teaching, Research and Community Service. Today, I speak on the Theme: Managing for Results.
We are assembled in this House of Congregation to publicly recognize the successes and achievements of the 2015/2016 graduands by conferring degrees and approving diplomas and certificates. Let me heartily congratulate all graduands on whom degrees will soon be conferred, and to whom diplomas and certificates will be awarded. I also congratulate the parents and other sponsors of the graduands who will shortly become graduates of the University of Sierra Leone, after conferment of their degrees, and approval of the award of their diplomas and certificates.
Today’s Congregation is taking place at a time of economic austerity and unprecedented social, economic and political change in the world. The geopolitical changes that are unfolding are partly the consequences of people’s actions to determine how they should be governed and to shape the policies by which their systems of governance should be characterised. As part of the global village the unfolding changes are resulting in challenges which we face as a country, in particular, in managing the affairs of the University. The challenges may seem daunting but in our resolve to deliver on our legal mandates we are fighting hard to surmount them. “Fighting” implies and involves deployment of our intellectual and managerial tools and skills in the process of delivering results.
Our management approach is focused on results because we manage by results. Not only is this approach determined by modern management practice but it is mandated by the Performance Management Contract (PMC) signed with the Head of State and Chancellor of the University. The Performance Management Contract enjoins the University to inter alia,
· manage the University efficiently, effectively and efficiently offer quality academic programmes and also contribute to scientific and technological innovations;
· prepare employees in the organization for the desired changes in working styles, attitudes and work ethic;
· show proof of efforts to eliminate or reduce corruption within the university and its Departments.
· show evidence of activities aimed at cultivating a positive change in attitude among the staff of the university, the application of modern management techniques, as well as proper safeguard and use of state assets.
Achievement of these objectives necessitated action to identify and analyse the problems, challenges and constraints of the university and take strategic action to address them. The strategic thinking and planning process resulted in my vision for the University which I articulated in Deep Change: Agenda for Realizing the Vision of the University of Sierra Leone in 2013, following my appointment to lead the University. This vision statement is the basis for charting the development trajectory which we have followed thus far. To date we have come a long way although a lot remains to be done.
What have we done?
Curriculum Development and Review
The colleges (FBC, IPAM and COMAHS) have reviewed existing undergraduate, postgraduate and extra-mural programmes and courses and developed new ones in response to economic and social needs, the needs of stakeholders, and in conformity with global best practices. These include: Banking and Finance, Chinese Language,Culture and Civilization, Development Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations, Early Childhood Care and Education, Engineering and Architecture,Information Technology, Medicine and Surgery, Mental Health/Psychiatric Nursing, Mining Engineering, Educational Leadership and Management, Mass Communication, Environmental Science, Population and Development Studies, Research and Public Policy, Social Work, Security, Strategic and Development Studies, Sustainable Energy Science, Urban Planning.
Faculty have undertaken cutting-edge research in, for example, the Ebola Vaccine Trial, conducted in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.Extra-Mural/Outreach Programmes have been implemented in learning centres in Makeni, Kono, Bo and Kenema. With accreditation from the UK-based Association of Business Executives (ABE), the Institute of Public Administration and Management continues to deliver the ABE Programme up to Level 7.
Partnership and Collaboration
Through partnership agreements the University of Sierra Leone is effectively collaborating with the International Network for Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).Specifically USL and INASP are collaborating “to support teaching, learning and research through increased awareness of access to and use of online research materials through training in research writing skills.
Partner universities include, the University of Port Harcourt (UniPort), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), The University of Cambridge (UK), The University of Rome, Tor Vergata in Italy, The Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), The University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria, The University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA, The University of Bradford in Britain.
The University of Port Harcourt
The 31st Convocation Lecture of the University of Port Harcourt was recently delivered by Ing. Professor Jonas Redwood Sawyerr on the Theme:The Mandate of Higher Education Institutions and Global Expectations.We congratulate him for his scholarship.
With technical support from Uniport, USL will develop courses in Petroleum Engineering.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
As part of our collaboration with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST will assist the University of Sierra Leone to train selected candidates at the doctoral level. Fourah Bay College is handling the screening of selected candidates to ensure that only the best get admitted to the PhD Programme.
Collaboration with Universities and other Tertiary Education Institutions in Sierra Leone
The “Call for Proposals” under the aegis of the DFID-sponsored Strategic Partnership for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) Project, presented a glorious opportunity for all higher education institutions in Sierra Leone to collaborate.For over twelve weeks senior officials in the higher education sector worked together to write a proposal which was submitted to DFID for funding to address issues of Quality Assurance in higher education.Valuable lessons were learnt from the collaborative process, and the innovative format for writing grant proposals.I wish to acknowledge the readiness and willingness of the heads of the following Tertiary Education Institutions (TEIs) for their collaboration, and for a job well done in writing the proposal:
The University of Makeni
Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology
Limkokwing University of Creative Technology
Milton Margai College of Education and Technology
Freetown Teachers’ College
I acknowledge the coordinating and supportive role played by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), and the British Council.
Enhancing the Physical Environment for Learning
Several infrastructural development projects have been undertaken to create and sustain a conducive environment for learning at Fourah Bay College (FBC), the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), and the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS). The ongoing civil works at FBC, IPAM and COMAHS attest to the scope and scale of rehabilitation and construction with utilization of internally-generated funds.
On the 18th February 2017, (FBC’s 190th Anniversary), His Excellency the Chancellor, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, turned the sod and formally launched the construction of the architecture building at Fourah Bay College.The Turning of the Sod Ceremony for the Institute of Library, Information and Communications Studies (INSLICS) also took place at Kortright, Fourah Bay College.Renovation and expansion of this Amphitheatre and the construction of boreholes to improve the supply of water to the campus are among FBC’s projects funded from internally-generated funds.
Through the Alumni and International Relations Directorate (AIRD), the university is taking action to mobilize alumni around the world.In February this year I met with well-meaning alumni of Fourah Bay College in London to discuss how they might get actively involved and support our work. Alumni in the United States of America are also organizing themselves to continue to lend support to our developmental efforts. The Director of the Alumni and International Relations Directorate will be meeting alumni in the UK, the USA, Nigeria and the Gambia to discuss how they might organize themselves to support their alma mater.
A group of alumni of FBC resident in the UK, Engineers for Change, have donated state-of-the-art engineering equipment to the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Fourah Bay College. While these alumni are thinking creatively and strategically on how to support the University, a few others are scheming on how to destroy the University. This, undoubtedly, is an exercise in futility!
Those who are graduating today (1,280) are encouraged to organise themselves wherever they will be to support their alma mater. New forms of alumni organization are needed around the world. On our part we will support them given the need for organizational biological diversity.
Access and Quality
During the 2015/2016 academic year the student population increased exponentially.From 11,000 the population increased to 20,000.This includes post-graduate and students in the extra-mural/outreach programmes.
An increasing student population indicates increased demand for higher education and access to the University.However, an increased student population has a number of implications and consequences including the need to transform existing pedagogical and managerial approaches, develop new modes of interaction with students who are coming to the University much younger, provide appropriate teaching-learning resources, provide adequate and state-of-the-art physical facilities and improve the general environment for learning.
If not creatively managed, the increased student population could detract from our efforts to maintain and improve quality.
With its current infrastructural development programmes, the University is complementing and supplementing the efforts of the Government in creating a conducive learning environment. The BADEA Project exemplifies government’s efforts.These notwithstanding, a lot more needs to be done given the growth in population and the expansion of basic education provision throughout the country.
Expansion of the Higher Education Sector
The higher education sector in Sierra Leone is changing. Let me, on behalf of the University of Sierra Leone, welcome the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology which was recently inaugurated by His Excellency the Chancellor. I also welcome the Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology.
These new universities provide a blend with the old to create the vibrancy and warmth which the higher education sector needs at this point in time.
Let the young, the not-so-young and the old grow together in the interest of quality provision of higher education in Sierra Leone!
This Congregation is being held during the 190th Anniversary of Fourah Bay College.Today’s graduands are part of the history of Fourah Bay College, the oldest institution of higher learning South of the Sahara. They are also part of the Fourah Bay College Brand which is revered worldwide, and the tradition of scholarship.
Congratulations! Please continue to do FBC proud.
Two graduands, Patricia Victoria Fomba (Law) and Keryl Mac-Johnson (Physics Honours) will today be recognized for their excellent performances in the final examinations.
Let me end this address by acknowledging the following people and institutions who have supported our work:
His Excellency The Chancellor Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, a distinguished alumnus of Fourah Bay College
The Vice-President, Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh who is also an alumnus of FBC
The Minister of Education, Science and Technology, an alumnus of FBC, and Senior Staff of his Ministry
Members of Court, University of Sierra Leone
Engineers for Change (UK)
The Sierra Leone Institute of Architects
The Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers
The Mayor of Kenema City Council
Book Aid International
International Network for Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP)
The Inspector General of Police
Dr. Adonis Aboud
Dr. Kishore Shankerdas
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
The Confucius Institute, in particular the Confucius Institute at the University of Sierra Leone
The Director, British Council
The Anti Corruption Commission
The African Young Voices (AYV) Media
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
The Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment
The International Office for Migration (IOM)
The Tertiary Education Commission
The Performance Management Service Delivery Directorate
The World Health Organization
The World Bank Country Office
The Inspector General of Police
The Germany Academic Exchange Programme (DAAD)
The University of Bradford, UK
The University of Bath, UK
The Ghana Institute of Public Administration and Management (GIMPA)
Hardworking faculty and staff of the University of Sierra Leone especially the Dean and faculty of Engineering. The Deputy Vice-Chancellors, FBC, IPAM and COMAHS. The Registrar and staff in particular Mr. Brima Bah for standing in for the Registrar who is unavoidably absent.
Thank you all graduands, for your patience and for surmounting the challenges with which you had to grapple during your courses of study.
We wish you continued success, good health and God’s richest blessings.
Thank you all!
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.