By: Thaimu Bai Sesay

On Tuesday, February 6th, 2024, the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education officially released the list of awardees for the Sierra Leone Government Grant-in-aid for the 2023/2024 academic year. This grant includes over 3,000 recipients, encompassing students from institutions such as FBC, EBK University, and ETU. Dr. Ramatulai Wurie, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, made the announcement, expressing gratitude for the public’s patience.

Dr. Wurie disclosed that the grant is set to benefit over 3,000 students for the 2023/2024 academic year, underscoring the significant importance of such support. While mentioning that the Grant-in-aid program will phase out, she assured that certain aspects will be reserved for specific groups, including female STEM students, individuals with disabilities, and children of teachers.

Moreover, the Minister highlighted plans to gradually introduce a Student Loan scheme for all students, with an upcoming investment conference aimed at fostering public and private investments to ensure the sustainability of the program.

Regarding Kono University, Dr. Wurie noted that lectures have commenced, with programs in Mining Engineering, Computer Science, Environmental Science, and Agricultural Science currently underway. She mentioned that 158 students are currently enrolled in these courses, utilizing existing resources and infrastructure until the university’s construction is completed.

Addressing recent controversies surrounding the appointment of the Vice Chancellor and Principal and the dissolution of the University Court at USL, Dr. Wurie explained that the appointment of an Acting Vice Chancellor and Principal was made to fill a vacancy left by Professor Foday Sahr. This decision followed consultations with university stakeholders to ensure adherence to the academic calendar.

Regarding the dissolution of the University Court, Dr. Wurie stated that it was done based on advice from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), citing ineffectiveness and deviations from the university’s mandate. She assured the public that an oversight committee has been established as per TEC’s recommendation to manage interim affairs until the constitution of a new University Court and Search Committee for a substantive Vice-Chancellor.

Finally, Minister Dr. Wurie announced that the appointed Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Lawrence Kamara, has tendered his resignation, which she accepted.


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