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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:
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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