The Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie, has, on the weekly Press Briefing organized by the Ministry of Information and Communications at its Conference Room at Youyi Building, informed the public on the progresses made by his Ministry.

Prof. Wurie started off by referencing Section 9 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, which provides for equal right and adequate educational opportunities for all citizens at all levels, adding that students across the country were given equal opportunity to submit the Sierra Leone Government Grant-in-Aid (GIA) applications on the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education’s online portal system. He said that 6,125 applications were received from all districts of the country and 2,750 GIA awards were given for the 2020/2021 academic year.

He mentioned that the interviews were done in each of the districts, furthering that there were two levels of Committees (the National Committee and the District Committees) in the entire process to enhance fair ness. “…each district had a committee, and the District Committee involved Anti-Corruption Representation; it also involved CSOs,” he said.

According to Prof. Wurie, the Government had made a manifesto commitment to supporting every female student pursuing programmes in Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics (STEAM), and therefore, all 520 female students that applied under STEAM were awarded the GIA.

He further noted that there were 53 lecturers at the Government Technical Institute (GTI) in Kissy that were not properly classified, resulting into a strike action from them. He pointed out that the classification process has already been done, and that the GTIs are now recognized as higher education institutions. The Minister added that a backlog payment of 50% has been computed and will take effect in the salaries of all GTI lecturers, starting from September this year. “The Ministry of Finance has done an extra-budgetary commitment, and all ten GTIs will receive full payments and their backlogs summing up to Le 2.17 billion within the September salaries,” he said.

Prof. Wurie finally reechoed that the Universities Act 2021 has been signed by the President; thus, all public universities will independently have their Chancellors, adding that all leave allowances along with the August salaries of all lecturers in public institutions have been factored in by the Ministry of Finance.