Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Launches Le3.5 Billion Skills Development Fund for MMCET, Transforms the College into a Technical University

Milton Margai Goderich Campus, Freetown, Sunday 6 December 2020 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has launched a Le3.5 billion Skills Development Fund to improve infrastructural improvements at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, MMCET, and pronounced it a full Technical University.

The college, first named Milton Margai Teachers College in 1963 after the country’s first Prime Minister, Sir, Milton Margai, mainly offered Teacher’s Certificate and Teacher’s Advance Certificate courses before adding technical and vocational education, TVET. 

The Community Headman in Goderich, Rev. Arthur K. Coker, said that education was the key to a nation’s development, noting that the presence of President Bio at the occasion was to show how much he valued education.

He further stated that the community had benefited so much from the college, adding that their forefathers made no mistake in providing the land for the erection of an institution of learning.

“We the people of Goderich Community are grateful to President Bio. We will continue to support your government in transforming this beautiful country,” he assured.

Chairman Tertiary Education Commission, Professor Aliyageen M. Alghali, said that it was a remarkable day in the history of the college and Goderich community as a whole, confirming that the college had met all set standards of the Commission to become a university.

“The Commission notes that the decision of transforming this college into a technical university was unanimously agreed upon by the Commission and that compliance on the side of the college was done to the satisfaction,” he noted and assured that the commission would work together with all stakeholders to make sure that standards met were kept.

Principal of MMCET, Dr Philip John Kanu, said he was grateful for the transformation of the college into a technical university, referring to the leadership of President Bio as “focused and transformative in making Sierra Leone a great nation”.

Dr. Kanu noted that it was a joyous day for the college, community, staff, and the parents of the school because the new status of the institution would support development in the country. He recalled that in 1996 as Head of State Julius Maada Bio upgraded the college into a degree-awarding body.

“Mr. President, it is like you are destined for the development of this college. You have shown to this college that you are truly the champion of Human Capital Development,” he said.

Dr Kanu told the gathering that the college had made tremendous progress in supporting the education and development efforts of the nation, adding that the vision of the forefathers of the college was not lost.

“The transformation of the college into a technical university will provide a state of the art lab, a robust administrative system, robust ICT that ensure a digitally run campus,” he concluded.

In his statement, President Dr Julius Maada Bio announced that they had acknowledged in the New Direction manifesto the appalling state and neglect of technical and vocational education in Sierra Leone – from the lack of clarity about the TVET mission to challenges with perceptions of TVET education, the curriculum, funding, locations, to even more.

“We believe, among other things, that a skilled and resourceful labour force can unlock rapid national development through relevant training in science, technology, and innovation.

“Workforce development through basic training, reskilling, and upskilling is the precursor for innovation, manufacturing, and for economic transformation. So our investments in education are guided by two key questions: a) What skillsets will a productive Sierra Leonean need over the next twenty years, and, b) What skillsets do we need for economic expansion?” he said.

The President said that those were the questions that had informed the government’s policy on technical and vocational education in general and guided their thinking on transforming polytechnics into technical universities.

“We believe that technical universities should help advance our strategic goals in the technical and vocational training sectors more vigorously. Students must be granted the opportunity to achieve the highest qualifications in technical education from an accredited university,” he said.

President Bio further asserted that there must be a clear pathway from technical secondary education to degree level education and training, adding that that would remove the scourge of inferiority associated with the polytechnic as an institution and would create advanced career and training possibilities for young people.

“It, therefore, gives me great pleasure to launch the Skills Development Fund valued at Le3.5 billion and formally commission the series of infrastructural improvements I have already highlighted,” he concluded.

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