The Minister of Education Science and Technology, Minkailu Bah on Wednesday submitted that the University of Sierra Leone should increasingly see itself as a business entity considering its learning and research capabilities as goods for sale to its consumers at competitive prices.
This and other submissions were made by different speakers during the opening of a two-day University of Sierra Leone Funding Conference at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown.
The funding conference was held for stakeholders to deliberate on ways in identifying alternative sources of funding for the university as a result of the government’s current shift in policy from subvention to fees subsidy in identifying alternative sources of funding for the university.
The Minister emphasized that the university has vast resources including manpower, facilities, machineries and equipment that are underutilized and go unnoticed to the public as he cited that private companies pay large amounts of money to advertise and establish their brands while public institutions give scant attention to branding and advertising their products.
“The quality of programmes, the quality of staff, the quality of teaching and graduate marketability all impact on student application and overall perception of the university” he stated.
He disclosed his ministry is contemplating recommending to the government of Sierra Leone a line of funding for tertiary institutions which will be based on annual ratings for performance in areas such as student satisfaction, staffing and employment status of graduates.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor Ekundayo Thompson highlighted the trend of development in the university including admission, subvention, income generation, capital expenditure and development expenditure.
Professor Thompson stressed that partnership is integral for the development of university as he informed the gathering that over twenty-five courses have been introduced in the three constituent colleges of the University of Sierra Leone in recent times and most of them have been in partnership and technical assistance with other institutions.
The contributions of different speakers including the World Bank Country Director, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Commission and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development were featured on the restructuring need, and the inclusion private sector in the development projects of the university.
By Keifa M. Jaward
Thursday March 20, 2014