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Page added on July 20, 2012

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A New Direction for Higher Education in Sierra Leone: Reform and Growth.

A New Direction for Higher Education in Sierra Leone: Reform and Growth. thumbnail

Recent thoughts expressed by university dons have encouraged me to make public my still-evolving thoughts on reform of higher education in Sierra Leone. My Vice-Presidential candidate, Dr. Kadi Sesay, has extensive experience of our higher education system having served as a senior don in the Department of English and also Warden for women students at Fourah Bay College for decades. Together, we have considered and reconsidered how we can make our system of higher education well-resourced, effective, and meaningful to the national development priority areas our Party is mapping out.  (Photo: SLPP flagbearer, Julius Maada Bio)

Our objectives of higher-education reform should be to re-define the relationship of the State to the University of Sierra Leone and to reform its constituent parts in terms of organization and governance, promote accountability and monitor standards, reform the curriculum, provide services to students, re-think funding, and orient higher education to national development priority areas in an SLPP Government such as youth employment, management and utilization of natural resources, human capital development, eliminating hunger, fighting corruption and improving accountability, healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure, etc.

I envision a university system that is essentially free from state over-regulation and state control and also free from the bane of party politics. University officials and dons will no longer be driven by party loyalties but by the pride of restoring and bringing our system of higher education to a level at par with the very best in Africa as it once was when it earned the enviable title of “Athens of West Africa.” I envision a university system that employs its own professional leadership in professional chancellors with distinguished and proven records of higher education leadership, significant international clout and contacts (funding and research networks),  and who are reform-minded. The ultimate objective of my government’s higher education policy is less state micro-management and enhanced institutional autonomy and reform.

Following are some of my initial thoughts with which I intend to engage our academics, policy makers, international partners, and stakeholders in higher education:

  1. Restructure university governance and grant universities policy and organizational autonomy;
  2. Introduce academic accreditation and rigorous audits of academic standards in line with international standards;
  3. Increase transparency without interfering with institutional autonomy with an emphasis on strategic plans, audited financial statements, annual reports, compliance reports and annual institutional evaluations;
  4. Encourage judicious internal resource allocation and management based on the guiding principle that public scrutiny enhances growth;
  5. Encourage internal initiatives to keep faculties well-compensated, motivated, productive, and accountable;
  6. Modernize the curriculum in terms of content, delivery and impact encompassing competence-based learning, innovative/flexible learning paths, and investment in curriculum resource support/service. In line with my party’s core belief that Sierra Leoneans must be trained to own, be responsible for, and direct national development, curriculum will prioritize training for such core national priority areas as listed above;
  7. Introduce institutional success initiatives and raise academic standards at all constituent universities;
  8. Invest in students  and reward effective teaching;
  9. Mobilize and engage competitive private capital investments in education infrastructure/services;
  10. Encourage and harness international and private partnership/investment/ engagement in higher education;
  11. Reform university funding: current funding levels and sources are stifling the development of higher education in Sierra Leone and the need to review the whole funding system has become even more imperative. My government will also look at third party funding (international partners, business, industry, private sources).

As I have already indicated, these are my evolving thoughts and I want therefore to encourage academic leaders, faculty, students, citizens, and stakeholders to engage my policy team in conversations that will firm up these thoughts. Within the next couple of weeks, I will also share my vision for reforming primary and secondary education predicated on observations, studies, policy recommendations, and my party’s position on education in Sierra Leone.

By Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio Presidential Candidate for the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)

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One Comment on "A New Direction for Higher Education in Sierra Leone: Reform and Growth."

  1. clarenceharper on Fri, 20th Jul 2012 8:51 am 

    According to a 2011 study by the Knowledge is Power Program, only about 31% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In order to assist those with out degree we need High Speed Universities online




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