Bio’s Higher Education Agenda Catches UN, World Bank, EU Admiration

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President Julius Maada Bio’s key campaign promise, as manifested in the Medium-Term National Development Plan (2019-2023), is set to gain a significant boost today with the launch of the report of the Needs Assessment Survey of Higher Education Institutions in Sierra Leone. This will occur at the Milton Margai College of Education, Goderich campus, organized by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

Sources at the TEC last night confirmed the role of the United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) in Sierra Leone, DrBabatundeAhonsi, a former academic, in getting the commitment of development partners such as Britain, Ireland, USAID and the African Development Bank to drum up support to this priority area of the President’s agenda that is also anchored on Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4).

SDG 4 speaks to ‘ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.’ It has always been an integral part of the sustainable development agenda.

At today’s programme for which the RC will chair the first segment, the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, the Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation, the World Bank Country Manager, African Development Bank Country Director, the Second Secretary at the Embassy of Ireland, GiZ Country Director and representatives of USAID and the British Council will participate and make statements of commitment to this sector.

According to DrAhonsi, “the event will afford key stakeholders the opportunity to discuss what needs to be done to reposition tertiary education as a driver of economic transformation and social progress in Sierra Leone.”

He also believes that it is crucial to place higher education on the public policy agenda squarely”.

The report, which also gives a fair appraisal of the existing situation and what is needed for the transformation of the higher education institutions in the country, will be launched by Professor Alpha Wurie, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education (MTHE).

His Deputy, Sarjoh Aziz-Kamara will moderate a third-panel discussion on ‘sustainable resource mobilization for higher education institutions. Professor Jonas Redwood-Sawyer will kick off with the first panel on ‘assuring quality in technical and higher education, while Professor Abdullah Mansaray will moderate the panel on ‘building a resilient higher education ecosystem.”

The first session of the event will also include a presentation of the four clusters of the report and an action plan.

Chairman of the TEC, Professor Aliyageen Mohamed Alghali, indicated that the recommendations in the Needs Assessment Report are in line with national and international benchmarks. It also serves as a strategic framework that aims to deliver on set goals for inclusive and sustainable development.

The Medium-Term National Development Plan places premium on free quality school education programme, a strategic priority to provide a solid base to enhance human capital development and facilitate the transformation of the economy.