Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie, Minister of Technical and Higher Education, on the 21st June, 2021 called on the Administration of Njala University to do self-introspection on its programs since the creation of the institution as an independent University in 2005.
He made that statement during a presentation of teaching and learning materials to Njala University over the weekend.
Professor Wurie recounted that he was an architect for the creation of Njala University as an independent University some forty-one (41) years ago after its establishment in 1964.
Njala University, according to him, had mainstreamed Agriculture and Education as the core areas during its creation in 1964 but that it had grown and expanded so much in the last fifteen (15) years by creating more and more Schools and Postgraduate programs.
He encouraged the University Administration to rather consolidate and concentrate on staff strengthening rather than expanding into more disciplines. He maintained that expansion requires huge funding and an appropriate staff establishment to service such an expansion.
The Minister appreciated such academic prowess on the part of the University to expand and create programs in more emerging 21st-century issues but that this should be supported by funding and the required staff structure.
‘’I want Njala University to hugely collaborate with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture in the design of an appropriate curriculum that will serve the daily needs of these Ministries,’’ Minister Wurie stated.
The Minister paid a one-day visit to Njala University over the weekend, the first since his reappointment as Minister for Technical and Higher Education to get first-hand information on the challenges of the University and progress made so far since its creation in 2005.
He disclosed to the University authorities that by August 2021, the Government of Sierra Leone would convert Milton Margai College of Education and Technology and the Eastern Polytechnic into technical universities making the number of public Universities into five.
Professor Wurie also admonished that public Universities should try as much as possible to consolidate programs that are very core to their establishment.
Professor Bashiru Mohamed Koroma, while welcoming the Minister and his delegation, noted that Njala University has been able to meander through the inherent challenges it had faced since 2005 when it was delinked from the University of Sierra Leone.
He called on the Minister to be an Ambassador for Njala University that is hugely plagued with water, electricity, and other challenges.
The Outgoing Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Osman Sankoh likened Njala University to an adolescent that had survived both infant and maternal mortality rates and now strong enough to go even though he still needs support from his parents to grow into adulthood.
He thanked the Minister for using his wisdom just after his appointment as Higher Education Minister to quell a strike action by all the Academic Staff Associations in the three public Universities in the country and for also meeting the commitments made to these striking lecturers and the different administrations.
Mallam thanked the Government for giving him an opportunity to serve his institution and also extended thanks to the administrative and academic staff members for supporting him in the last fourteen (14) months as caretaker Principal.
He lauded the wisdom of the Ministry for appointing Professor Andrew Baimba as the new Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal and was confident that he was the right choice to sustain the reforms already made at Njala University.
The incoming Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Andrew Baimba was full of praise for Mallam O. and also thanked the Ministry for appointing him. He assured the Ministry that he would commit himself fully to the direction of staff strengthening and consolidation.
The University Registrar intimated to the Minister that his Administration is fully committed to restructuring and that a number of actions are now been taken in the various schools to restructure.
He praised Mallam O. for inspiring them in the last fourteen months and welcomed Professor Baimba to Njala University.
The climax of the ceremony was the presentation of teaching and learning materials to Njala University and a conducted tour of some of the facilities at the University then followed.
(C) The Calabash Newspaper