The Department of International Development DFID is investing up to 15 million pounds in programmes to support the building and strengthening of capacity in higher educational Institutions in some 22 bilateral focused countries across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
According to information tendered at a one day meeting held at the British Council in Freetown over the weekend, Sierra Leone has four projects on board. namely VVF, GRADOC, Health, Artisanal Fisheries and Agriculture.
The goal of the programme is to enable higher institutions to act as catalysts for poverty reduction and sustainable development by strengthening research, teaching and consultancy services and promoting crucial MDG and science and technology related knowledge and skills.
The Director of International Cooperation Mr. G.W.K Mason in giving the background of the development of education partnership in higher education pointed out that it initially started with a round table discussion on higher education links sponsored earlier by the British Council programme in Sierra Leone in which both Njala University and the University of Sierra Leone staff participated.
This he said, was in preparation to be initiated by DFID on development of education
Partnership in Higher Education, which would be an international programme to be managed by British Council.
Co-coordinators between the year 2002 and 2005 were also invited to the discussions which focused on success, impact of the programme, difficulties, learning point, priority for Sierra Leone and future link programmes.
In his welcome address the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone Prof. Aiah Gbakima said the University in Sierra Leone should use the opportunity to initiate a lot of project proposals which might later go through an assessment committee of the University of Sierra Leone to march with international standards so as to attract more development to the country.
The Director of British Council Amos Lansana confirmed that there are huge funds to support projects but people need to use their initiatives to develop project proposals for possible funding.
By Solomon Rogers