The deputy vice chancellor of the Njala University Bo campus, Professor Abdulai Mansaray, has described the “pervading general disinterest in learning among our pupils” in Sierra Leone as his “greatest personal anxiety” as he contemplates on the present education landscape in the country.
He said this at the annual speech day and prize giving ceremony of the Bo Government Secondary School recently.
Prof. Mansaray explained that at present “our pupils aspire to a career in music or in sports than in science, technology, medicine or, worst of all, academics.”
He said that, “you are very likely to encounter a much greater depth of knowledge among our pupils about rap singers in the USA, and about stars of the English Premier League than about to say the geography and geology of the country.”
He went further to comment on the programmes aired on radio stations to be nothing more or less concerning education.
“When you listen to the radio, there are far too many advertisements for album launches, jam splashes, music competitions, picnics and outings, than there are for activities of a more educational nature,” he noted and asked: “do our pupils really love learning?”
In paradigm, he said he also loved good music and good football match and in fact also believed that “leisure is absolutely necessary for effective learning.”
However, he ultimately opined that “our development as a nation is not going to be determined by how many rap singers or football stars we produce.”
Prof. Mansaray affirmed that our development as a nation will definitely be determined by “how strong a knowledgeable society we build.”
It was in that context that he formed a vision for the Bo School if only it would be a school of excellence. The school, he said, though a centenary old and still not out and with a competent and dedicated staff and conducive learning environment qualified as a “centre of excellence” for science, technology and the social sciences. The basic infrastructure for that he confirmed already existed but that further improvements needed to be done on it.
With that Bo School, he narrated, would not only serve as such centre for the country but for the sub-region.
In addition, the deputy vice chancellor observed that, “we are in a new dawn as a nation, which requires a new consciousness; a consciousness that should be grounded on our values as committed citizens ready to offer our best for our country.”
The consciousness, he went on, should be unique in its “incisiveness and objectivity.” The consciousness of grouping our aspiring leaders under “two foot arata”, he said, should be desisted from, adding that “this consciousness does not present us with a viable alternative classification.”