State House, Freetown, Tuesday 28 January 2020 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has engaged university authorities at State House, where he reiterated his commitment to depoliticising academic institutions in the country.
He said that he had decided to call for the meeting as a way dialoguing with university authorities on the way forward in regaining the country’s past academic glory. He said that the task of changing the narrative about Sierra Leone was a huge one, and noted that in order to do so he must engage all critical sectors.
“I am engaging you, like I am doing with other sectors, and it is important to know what your own thoughts and contributions are, going forward in terms of the educational process. I did say I will depoliticise education in the interest of the nation. I want to take politics out of the university and I will step down as Chancellor of the University as soon as the necessary amendments are made.
“We think that you should have the academic freedom in the management of academic institutions because you have spent your whole life in it and you know how to manage it. I have prioritised Human Capital Development and you play an important role to achieve that. It is incumbent on us all to ensure that our kids get the relevant education that will empower them to live a better life and develop our country,” he said.
President Bio also stated that he was leading the process but would need all on board to think big in education and focus on technology and innovation. He noted that the quality of education was in the hands of teachers and lecturers, saying that he wanted academic institutions in the country to be competitive like others elsewhere around the world.
Chief Minister, Professor David John Francis, commended the President for his leadership, saying that it was not common to see a Head of State engaging with the higher education sector and dialogue around the opportunities and challenges in the sector. He said that the university must stand up to the challenges and play its part in the development of the country.
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