“FBC is a shadow of its glorious past”


-President Koroma

February 21, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

Whilst speaking on Saturday (18 February) at the Samuel Ajayi Crowther Amphitheatre during the 190th anniversary of Fourah Bay College (FBC), President Ernest Bai Koroma told lecturers, present and past students that the college ‘is a shadow of its glorious past’

FBC commemorated its 190th anniversary on Saturday on the theme: Pursuing excellence in serving humanity.

According to President Koroma, the college has witnessed a glorious past with distinguished administrators and tutors, who inspired and exposed students to academic excellence and will, not compromising academy standards.

He recalled that during his days, the college had a conducive learning environment, well-structured administration and excellent teaching staff, and that the canteen system was in full operation with students being fed three times daily.

He noted that it was that state of accomplishment which the college has acquired long ago that Fourabites were at the Amphitheatre to celebrate.

The president said the college has witnessed an upheaval in the academic calendar in the past few decades, ranging from war, political instability, the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic to financial crisis.

He said the college has not been able to reach its full potential due to the above factors.

“As a result of these challenges, the college has not been able to perform so well in the international rankings and the prestige and glory of our darling college has slowly been weaning. It is sad to note that the college once referred to as the anthems of West African is now a big shadow of its former self,” he said.

President Koroma said varsity authorities needed a critical retrospection of where they stumbled and how they should pick up themselves and move to a brighter future.

He also urged the college administration to improve on the running of the college by providing more class rooms and sitting accommodations for students, and to collaborate with other universities across the world with the aim of improving the academic standards in the oldest college in the sub region.

Earlier, Secretary General of FBC Alumni Association, Teddy Foday-Musa, who spoke on behalf of the association’s president, Umaru Fofanah, noted that president Koroma was the first alumnus to become president of Sierra Leone.

He lamented that it was incomprehensible for almost two centuries since it was founded, the college has not been able to ensure that prospective students apply online for admission.

He said such has not only made it difficult for those seeking admission but also daunting for those processing flood of application forms.

He noted that the Alumni Association has held preliminary talks with SALCAB-the body responsible for the regulation of the fibre optic, and that they have agreed to make online registration a reality.

Mr. Foday-Musa said although they were concerned about the unpleasant behaviour of students, but noted that such should not have led to the banning of a student union body, because of the misbehaviour of a handful of them, which, he said was unfair and violates the rights of students to associate.

“This college has the capacity to identify specific wrongdoers and take action against them, instead of the notion of collective guilt. The learning atmosphere here and respect for the rights of students should be improved. Otherwise the broader society will bear the brunt,” he said.

The Alumni scribe observed that the BADEA project cannot fully address the perennial needs of students’ accommodation, thus calling on FBC administration to consider working with the private sector to invest in the hostels.

He called on all past students to register with the FBC Alumni Association and pay their dues as it was a payback time for past students.

Despite President Koroma’s description of the college as a shadow of glorious past, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ekundayo D.J Thompson, noted that FBC still maintains academic excellence.

He said the college has continued to attract a large number of students in and out of Sierra Leone, thus calling on the Alumni to help restructure the college as it was a payback time for them.

He disclosed that he recently received state-of-the-art equipment for the faculty of Engineering, donated by a group of Alumni based in the United Kingdom.

“Any Alumni who valued what this college has done for them will come in to payback. This is payback time for FBC at 190 years. Today, the  construction of two building will be commissioned with the turning of the soil  for the faculty of architecture building and the building for the Institute of Library and Information Science (INSLIC),” he said.

He said the fund for the project was mobilised through the effort of alumni and that it would complement the effort of the government in the ongoing BADEA project.

Meanwhile, for the past nine years, students have not been opportune to occupy the hostels due to their dilapidated state but renovations on them are currently ongoing.