Njala University over the weekend certificated another batch of her undergraduates and postgraduates in its history of little over two years as an autonomous university.
The university has prepared and sent to the nation a well trained and skilled man power of over three thousand in its nearly two years of establishment. And this year alone, a total of 1221 both undergraduates and post graduates graduated but with a total of 401 in person.
In the address of the Pro-Chancellor, Dr Sandi A Bockarie said the day was the second most memorable in the lives of the proud class of 2008, with their matriculation day being the first. He said the university was “like a baby making frantic efforts to let Njala be.”
In his plea to the government, he said indeed there was a high need for the reconstruction of the Njala Taiama Highway, and that the university and staff whole heartedly accepted true governmental control of the University and, that the University should prepare itself for performance, competency and efficiency.
He however said the government in that vain should be prepared also “by making the demands of the University met.”
Turning to the students he said their graduation ceremony was one that “makes you a committed individual.”
Professor Aliyageen Alhaji Alghali, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University, kicked into his speech by declaring: “today, we are assembled here to bring joy to the hearts and minds of our young men and women who have successfully gone through the rigors of academic discipline to be named among graduants the world over.”
Speaking on the theme: “The new Njala University: a major contributor towards manpower development in Sierra Leone,” he said that, “our programmes are many and varied and relevant to the development needs of our country.”
Since the inception of the University, he said, their vision had been: “a University with unique capacity to make significant and sustained contribution to realizing the overall socio-economic aims and aspirations of Sierra Leone” continuing to establish his mission: “To establish a world-class centre of excellence in higher education committed to providing quality knowledge and skills, their transmission and application and to fostering the advancement of learning in Sierra Leone and the world at large.”
As a means of achieving these objectives and aims, Prof Alghali mentioned that the University had set out a five-year rolling strategic plan to guide their endeavours.
The university, he affirmed, had also put out together stringent policies on admissions and examinations and a quality assurance guideline for monitoring their activities and ensuring they set standards in consonance with those accepted internationally.
In furtherance, the principal reported to the chancellor that the university was on the day having the first batch of the 15 months taught masters programme in Peace and Development Studies and Environmental Management and Quality Control and the Certificate in Secretarial Studies. The programmes which vary in scope and discipline, with the continuing ones, he said, would produce graduants who would do their lot in stemming out the manpower shortage in the country. All these, he said, were just “attempts by the university to diversify learning opportunities and open our tertiary education system to all…..”
In order to have a competent staff, he said, he had begun creating links with universities in the Diaspora “initiated for split-site M.Phil/Phd programmes abroad,” and from which his staff had already started benefiting.
With the hopes of the University retuning back to its root, he thanked the Chancellor for having added his voice to the calling as “we are suffering in Freetown.”
The President and Chancellor, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, having conferred the students their hard-won degrees, diploma and certificates compared his still fond memories of graduation with the students, “I know at first hand, the multiple feelings you are experiencing at this particular moment in your lives.”
The multiple feelings, he said, involved questions in the minds of the students such as “Will I get that job I have always dreamt about…Will the world out there adequately reward me for my years of learning…Will my primary objective be to serve my nation no matter what?”
Answers to those questions, he said, would only be realized should the graduants continue to work hard, as he amongst others harboured the same doubts but with optimism “we were able to realize our dreams…”
He however cautioned them that, “your expectations of the world will be matched with the world’s expectations of you.” Their accomplishment on that day he said “brings with it expectations of responsibility such as good behaviour at all times…..”
By acquiring university education he said, “you are today joining that growing critical mass of Sierra Leoneans that we need to produce the right ideas that will guide the development of our nation and move it to a higher level of achievement.”
By Bawoh Jenkins