Higher and Technical Education Minister, Professor Alhaji Tejan Wurie, in the Transforming Higher Education Provision launch at the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, on Thursday 13th October 2022, has pronounced that this year a total of thirty two thousand (32000) students applied for admission to the University of Sierra Leone (USL) and Njala University respectively.
Going forward, he said for the USL, which comprises of Fourah Bay College, COMAS, and IPAM, has twenty four thousand (24000) applicants, whilst Njala University has eight thousand (8000) applicants.
However, he stated that the acceptance or admission of all of them seems impracticable, since all of them have to go through screening processes, and whosoever emerges successful during the screening processes, will be admitted.
Regarding the screening processes, he said it can either be orally, written or through MCQ. In doing the screening, he said each department or faculty will determine the mode at which it is to be done.
With the huge number of applicants, he mentioned that the need for the reengineering of the various universities is at course to be able to accommodate a huge number of students and to ensure for the expansion for more courses. He added that those who would not be successful in the screening processes, will be opportuned to have options to do preliminary year or better still foundation courses, for which, if they perform well they will be admitted to pursue degree programs of their interests, he assured.
Having said that, the minister said he has had an earlier engagement with university heads and representatives with regard this reengineering and expansion process, which will bring about quality assurance into the educational system. Also, he said those with five credits but without English Language or Mathematics, will be incorporated into the foundation courses, especially in the technical areas.
He confirmed that there are 10 government technical institutions nationwide, which will be turned into Community Colleges, to give them premium; and in functioning as Community Colleges, to be affiliated with Regional universities, which will serve as hubs for the community colleges.
In ensuring for the quality assurance, he said the Open University, which talks about the Electronic learning platform, said now in existence at Fourah Bay College, COMAHS and EBK, which he said not all universities have the facility platform to operate.
He furthered that starting this year; a digital form of assessing students will be started, which will allow students to be graded immediately after completing their examination. He added that as registration and payment of tuition fees and other university charges poses challenges to students, all will now be done digitally. With this, mobile network companies have been engaged to achieve this.
With the 10 government technical in institutions, only available in nine districts; six are without technical institutions but plans are underway to salvage that imbalance. Reiterating on the screening processes, he warned that the assessment is going to be tougher as the system moves along. However, he stated that it is not a way to discredit the students but a way to Ce ascertain the capacity of those that will be admitted and those that will not. He added that the process is to help make the students improve and fit for their desired areas of interest.