Njala University establishes constituent Campus in Bonthe
Credit: Public Relations Assistant, Njala University ( Ayuba Koroma)
The Chancellor of Njala University, Professor Sahr Moses Gevao has on Saturday, 15th April 2023 inaugurated the Njala University Bonthe Campus.
The ceremony, which was held at the Grounds of the former Bonthe Technical Training College, Monument Lane, Shebro Island, Bonthe, was attended by Njala University's Administrative and Academic staff, the Deputy Minister and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the former Mayor of Bonthe Municipality, the District Officer for Bonthe, traditional leaders, students, and residents.
In his welcome speech, the Chancellor emphasised that Njala University is a vibrant, progressive institution that is continually looking for ways to grow and sustain itself.
According to Professor Gevao, the establishment of a third campus in Bonthe is part of the University's restructuring strategy, which aims to generate untapped industries, unlock economic potential, and position Njala University as a recognised provider of education and research, particularly in the global maritime sector and the sustainable tourism sector. He continued by saying that the University is committed to achieving its objectives and that it depends on support from stakeholders to carry out "this ambitious project."
In his inaugural address, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Bashiru Mohamed Koroma revealed the University's plans to establish two schools and institutes, including the schools of maritime studies, sustainable tourism, and hospitality management, as well as the institutes of technical entrepreneurship and vocational studies and teacher education.
The Department of Marine Sciences and Coastal Agriculture, the Department of Maritime Management and Logistics, and the Department of Marine Engineering and Navigation are the three Departments that make up the School of Maritime Studies, according to Professor Bashiru Koroma. The Departments of Tourism and Travel Management, Hospitality Management and Catering Science, and the Department of Cultural Heritage Studies would all be housed under the School of Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality Management, he noted.
“Recognised as a pioneer of initiatives that support sustainable economic growth, the University is now embarking on an exciting Campus establishment at the Sherbro Island that stands to generate enormous benefits at local and national levels,” Professor Koroma declared.
The School of Maritime Studies will undoubtedly address the significant human capacity gaps in Sierra Leone's blue economy sectors, according to VC&P. He continued, "This economic concept promotes sustainable utilisation of ocean resources for economic growth, food security, job creation, energy generation, water transportation, and protection of the marine environment for future generations."
He urged the government, partners, and donors to help the new campus fulfil its purpose.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Mr. Sarjoh Aziz-Kamara, Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education, expressed his frustration at the apparent neglect of the historical injustice to Bonthe Island over time, noting that this is being addressed at the moment due to President Bio's commitment to education.
The Deputy Minister stated that Bonthe is fortunate to have taken only thirty-four (34) years to become a constituent Campus of Njala University and pointed out that the change is a result of the Government's significant investment in education. His Excellency's emphasis on human capital development and the investment of 22% in education, he continued, has led to an increase in the number of people attending school, a greater pass rate for public exams, and an increase in the number of students being admitted to public universities.
The Deputy Minister mentioned that the transformation and expansion at Njala University is significant due to the country's population growth rate, particularly among young people. He pointed out that with the opening of the Bonthe Campus, Njala would be able to serve around 24% of the population of the Southern Province, and he added that the expansion was deliberate and purposeful by President Bio's Government.
The expansion, according to Minister Sarjor Aziz-Kamara, is consistent with MTHE's focus on technical and vocational education throughout the sixteen Districts in preparing the middle level manpower for entrepreneurship and global competitiveness.
He commended the Administration for taking important programmes and courses into consideration for the new Campus.
Honourable Philip Segepoh Thomas, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, reaffirmed his commitment to support the new campus and urged locals, friends, donors, and the government to contribute to its development.
Former Bonthe Municipality Mayor Layemin Joe Sandi pledged his unwavering support for the campus and said that everyone had been waiting for this moment because of the path the college was about to take in light of its many challenges.
The ceremony concluded with the cutting of ribbons and the unveiling of signage denoting the Njala University Bonthe Campus's formal opening.