October 29, 2018
President Julius Maada Bio has on Friday inaugurated the 2018 Njala University Court, the highest administrative authority, at the institution’s premises at Njala Mokonde, southern Sierra Leone.
Vice Chancellor and Principal, Professor Abdulai Mansaray, thanked the President, his entourage and other dignitaries from across the country for attending the occasion, calling it a historic moment. He added that the Njala University Court had been inaugurated at a time when the education system in the country was going through a major transformation.
He applauded the wisdom in creating a stand-alone Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and in appointing Professor Aiah Gbakima, a distinguished US-trained scientist and biology professor.
“The collaboration and good relationship between the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and other higher institutions of learning, so far, show that Professor Gbakima is equal to the task and is a proof of why he has always excelled in academic pursuit,” he noted.
Professor Mansaray told the President that among the many challenges they faced as a University, he would appreciate if the government addressed the aspect of inadequate funds they get and its associated difficulties with efficient service delivery.
He concluded by adding that the success of the Free Quality Education, the government’s flagship programme, would largely depend on the ability of universities to train better teachers and other professionals.
In his response, President Bio expressed profound gratitude to the authorities of the University and the communities of Njala Mokonde and Taiama for the wonderful welcome accorded him and his entourage. He agreed that the event was a historic one because he wasn’t only visiting to inaugurate the Njala University Court, but he was also there to thank the people of Kori Chiefdom for their support and confidence to elect him president of the country.
He also stated that education was a huge human capital investment that every country would need to be able to foster development, adding that that was why his government had prioritised universal pre-primary, primary and secondary education.
“The allocation of 21 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to education is an indication that my government has placed education high on key national priorities for economic advancement through industrial growth and social equity. This can only be achieved when we all work together to see it succeed,” he urged.
He emphasised that Njala University, like any other higher institution of learning, had a special role in the realisation of his government’s flagship programme and assured the university authorities of his government’s commitment to providing the necessary support to make education accessible to everyone in the country without favour or prejudice.
He, however, called on students to be serious with their academic work and to socialise within the ambit of the law. He warned that his government would not encourage activities by any student that would go against the university codes and conduct. He called on the University Court and other authorities to ensure that cultic clubs were appropriately discouraged from Njala University.