The Ministry of Technical and Higher Education (MTHE) has conducted a two-day training exercise for the Administration of Eastern Technical University of Sierra Leone (ETU-SL) on the procedures of students’ online application. The training was done at the University’s campus in Kenema.

Digitization of higher learning institutions under the supervision of MTHE, which is a European Union funded project, went through its final validation in a meeting attended by all Vice Chancellors and Principals of public tertiary institutions across the country in 2020 at Albertson Hotel in Kenema.

The Ministry, having already kick-started the process in other higher learning institutions of the country, views this system as one that would bring about enormous benefit for ETU-SL and Sierra Leone as a whole.

According to MTHE’s Director of Technology and Innovation, Mr. Victor Sesay, the online application system would allow students to readily meet their financial commitment, thereby boosting the coffers of ETU-SL. He mentioned that the platform would equally create an opportunity for Deans and Heads of Department to know the grades submitted by lecturers just by clicking through the system. He also attributed the benefits of the digitized system of higher learning to the recently concluded online Students’ Union elections at Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) which was free of all forms of malpractice, leading to a peaceful electoral process. He added that ETU-SL is administratively in a better footing as a new university. Mr. Sesay admonished the Administration to always start with restricting staff from accessing the online portal as soon as their contract ends in a bid to prevent redundant staff members from deliberately interrupting the system.

MTHE’s E- Learning Training Consultant for public higher learning institutions, Mr. Michael Kamara, during the training exercise, highlighted the differences in roles and responsibilities of all administrative users of the portal system, adding that the roles restrict users to only access what the system allows them to see, so that no one would be able to intrude into someone else’s account. According to Mr. Kamara, the roles vary from Super Admins, Admins, Deans, Heads of Departments (HODs), Lecturers, Student Section, Library, Exams, to Finance Department.

He admonished the University Administration to continue doing in-house computer training in a bid to enhance further efficiency of the portal system. “With the help of the Principal, we have pushed and integrated with the banks. Once the students purchase the pin from the banks, in real time they will have their dashboard and see exactly what is going on. The Finance people in real time will collect statements from the banks and look at the statements from the system in terms of reconciliation,” he said.

ETU-SL’s Principal, Prof. Mohamed Konneh, expressed profound gratitude to MTHE’s Directorate of Technology for the training they have kick-started, appreciating all members present for their participation in making the training a reality. “Online process, especially for university is very essential, and I hope we are going to extend it even to the classrooms. Of course you can teach on white board, but doing it online makes learning a whole lot easier,” he said.