As education is the back bone of any nation, the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez of the republic of Gambia has led a delegation to the Ministry of Basic and Higher Education to mark their third visit to the sister West Africa State Sierra Leone which resulted to the signing of a Memorandum Of Understanding MOU between the two ministers.
In his opening remarks at the third meeting prior to the signing ceremony of the MOU, Principal for the Freetown Polytechnic, Jui, Dr. Samba Moriba informed his audience that the engagement was borne out of the achievement Sierra Leone had made over the years in transforming the nation’s education sector, especially in colleges or tertiary institutions which had been given certificates and awarded degrees to successful students.
“The Gambian education ministry also have similar plan and that is why they wanted to study our programs to understand the processes we went through, the challenges we faced and the solution to those challenges”, he asserted.
Mr. Moriba recalled that the first step taken by the Gambia education officials was to pay first visit to our various learning institutions in Sierra Leone through a delegation led by the Chairman for the Gambia College.
Mr. Moriba maintained that the second meeting led to the development of the MOU between the two education authorities, adding that the MOU dealt with staff exchange, students fees, which means, intervention will be made for students from Gambia to study in Sierra Leone as well as Sierra Leonean students will equally do same in Gambia with the clear understanding that foreign students were going to pay the same school fees charges in both countries.
In his presentation on behalf of the Gambia delegation, Prof. Pierre Gomez said he was grateful and thankful to the people of Sierra Leone, especially the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie, adding that Sierra Leone and Gambia are not only one people or having the same political administration, but many Gambians also trained from Sierra Leone, most of their first writers had Sierra Leonean influence and there are lot of other traits which the two nations shared in common.
“We don’t need going to Paris or London to transform our education system since we have noticed that Sierra Leone had gone through what we are trying to adopt in our learning institutions, which is the rapid and robust transformation of institutes to universities”, said Prof. Gomez
Gomez proclaimed that they would be happier if Sierra Leone help them to revamp the Gambia College.
“It high time Africa must start looking forward and inward”, he thrilled listeners and dilated that Sierra Leone was the first to have a university education which many Africa countries didn’t get.
He encouraged all those that present to believe in Africa’s solution and to exercise or practice what he called a Pan African Approach, which he said would help to develop the continent. He further appealed to the Sierra Leonean authorities to help structure the Gambia College with better framework and mentioned that the signed MOU would aid their students in Gambia and Sierra Leone to have access to higher education.
Minister Gomez ended by asserting that they wanted to ensure that the education system which had been put in place in Sierra Leone is implemented successfully in Gambia.
In his brief statement, the Sierra Leone Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie highlighted that Sierra Leone had started higher education programs for about 200 years ago, adding that Njala University and Fourah Bay College were the two constituents colleges in the country.
As at now, Prof. Wurie told foreign visitors that Sierra Leone is trying to upgrade the education act as the world is going digital. By the end of this year, the proposed education act would be tabled in Parliament for modification said Prof. Wurie and he spoke on the important to upgrade the university staff.
Prof. Wurie recognized that the Gambia University had already produced certificate and diploma holders and raised that the issue of staff upgrade needs staff classification.
Minister Wurie advanced that the science options tend to be most difficult and deliberated that in Africa, many students go for social sciences.
Prof. Wurie also throw light on the need to train epidemiologists, nurses and Community Health Officers CHO’s.
“We need to have scientists in the education curricular”, he stated and continued that Sierra Leone took a long time before it started science and engineering courses in our colleges.
Minister Wurie described the engagement between the two countries to send their students to study from each other as a conscious effort in restructuring a country education system.
Prof. Wurie concluded by further describing the engagement as fruitful and a major step in exchanging ideas and he congratulated the Gambia education Minister, Prof. Gomez and entire members of the delegation to facilitate such a bilateral engagement.
The occasion climaxed by the signing of the MOU between the two ministers..