HIGHER EDUCATION LAUNCHES SPHEIR PROJECT
By Mahmoud Sillah
The Minister of Technical and Higher Education Prof Albert Aiah Gbakima on Thursday 29th November, 2018 launched the Strategic Partnership for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) Project. The ceremony took place at British High Commissioner's Residence, Hill Station in Freetown .
Addressing, the minister reiterated the statement made by President Bio in his address to the nation in the well of parliament that the Ministry Of Technical and Higher Education would be charged with the responsibility of enhancing access, quality and relevance of courses offered in our University to the nation."That is exactly what my ministry has been doing in the last seven month to achieve these three key objectives, "he informed.
Prof Gbakima went on to state that one of the things that has been wrong with our educational system in the country is the quality aspect of it.
"This has been the problem over the years but the New Direction government will stand tall to change the narrative.
The minister recalled his days at Fourah Bay College when the University used to admit more foreign students from West African countries no longer come to Sierra Leone for higher education ." It is unfortunately now the opposite as we are now going to countries to seek quality education, he noted as he rhetorically asked what went wrong.
He said to restore that lost glory in our education system, his ministry would ensure that they did not micro-manage examination malpractices in the universities and colleges. Another thing the minister said his ministry, in collaboration with university and college administrations would want to ensure is to eradicate sexual harassment by lecturers in higher institutions of learning as it seriously undermines the quality of education .
The minister ended by entreating development partners to get involved in assuring quality in higher education in Sierra Leone." The campaign will be led by the University of Sierra Leone, working with Njala University,the University of Makeni , Tertiary Education Commission, Sierra Leone Institute of Engineers, 50/50 Group, King,s College of London and the University of Illinois in the USA ,"he posited.
Highlighting the importance of the project and it duration, the British Council Country Director ,Tony Reilly said the three-year project aims at assuring quality education and improved and quality management in higher institutions.
He said it also supports the introduction and implementation of outcome-based education and aims to bring about students centered focus on higher education across the country leading to a more responsive and capable national workforce.
The British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone Guy Warrington noted this partnership project will create an enabling platform for the introduction of outcome-based education system by establishing a National Qualifications Framework and complementary assurance systems in the country . He further stated how this project will help ,that it will support the implementation of outcome based education by helping to realign curricula ,building the capacity of staff and introducing innovative teaching and learning system across higher education institutions . Also another area this project aim to address graduate employability ,he concluded