July 17, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Lawmakers in Sierra Leone yesterday ratified $37.5 million agreement for the construction of new hostels and lecture rooms for the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) at Bureh Town, West Rural.
The agreement dated August 2nd, 2018, was signed between FEMAB properties (SL) which is engaged in Real Estate Consultancy and development and IPAM, University of Sierra Leone, relating to the construction of hostels and lectures rooms.
In her presentation, Deputy Minister of Finance, Patricia Lavaley said the focus of the contract was to provide decent accommodation for students and staff of the college.
She added that the current location of the institution could not accommodate above 10,300 students and that there was a possibility for the number to be increasing as time goes by.
She said the college has been offering courses from Diploma to Masters level in all walks of public administration, thus noting that, the new building, even if it couldn’t accommodate all of the students at the same time,will give them better space in terms of social, economic and environmental breathing space.
She said the past one year has witnessed several meetings to address specific issues relating to students accommodation and that all of the analysis has been considered.
She admitted that after painstakingly studying the agreement, they have identified some possible risk, but will come out with specific ways to mitigate those risks.
She stated that the college has been renting facilities at St. Edward’s School, Prince of Wales, Tabanercle Primary School, Girls Guide, and REAPS Institute at Circular Road for lectures, which she said placed a huge economic burden on them, stating that the project would reduce those burden.
Chairman of the committee on Tertiary and Higher Education, Hon. Alimamy O. Kamara said IPAM has a justification for the fast ratification of the contract agreement as they have proven themselves in refining education to the expectation and aspirations of President Bio’s agenda for quality education.
He said the university values education as there were a lot of justification and that they should be applauded for such.
He stated that despite the challenges they faced, they have been able to construct a ten storey building with the meager resources they have, thus comparing them to other constituent colleges that were just rehabilitating.
Opposition Whip, Hon. Hassan Sesay applauded the college and noted that the country was now on the verge of progressing, adding that they needed to give them the requisite support deserve.
He said irrespective of the challenges students and staff/lecturers faced, the college was able to render quality education to all, hence cautioning them to continue in that pace.
Leader of the Coalition for Change, Hon. Emerson Saa Lamina said the contract ratification was deliberate based on the fact that the college has qualified lectures and offered valuable courses in terms of academic research, adding that they deserve large space.
He said the college needed to be applauded for their services and concerns for the workforce, thus making an allusion to Fourah Bay College,which he said has never expanded but always rehabilitates its facilities.
He expressed concern over the way students were engaging in violence especially during their union election,coupled with the increased examination malpractices.