Njala University Kick-Starts World Bank/MTHE Skill Development Programme
Njala University, 24th May, 2021- The Department of Horticulture, School of Natural Resources Management, Njala University has on Monday, 24th May 2021 kick-start the World Bank/MTHE supported skills development programme at the Njala Campus, Mokonde.
The 2.2 billion Leones World Bank Skills Development programme is an intensive six months Diploma Program in mushroom cultivation targeting two hundred and thirty youths (230) youths and other vulnerable populations in Mushroom Cultivation at the Department of Horticulture, School of Natural Resources Management, Njala University.
Dr. Phillip M.P. Mornya a Senior lecturer and former Dean of the School of Natural Resources Management who anchored the ceremony started by welcoming the trainees and underscoring the importance of them understanding the terms ‘Skills Development Programme’ which according to him is coined to help strengthen capacity and a demand-driven skill.
He disclosed that the essence of the training is to tap their potentials with a view to make them income generators and wealth creators so as to eliminate poverty.
Dr. Mornya further stressed that Njala University was awarded this highly competitive project through a rigorous application process conducted jointly by the World Bank and the MTHE.
He added that the training program was borne out of comprehensive research that demands a reform of curriculum in learning institutions in Sierra Leone with more emphasis on practical driven education and the improvement of the private sector.
Head Horticulture Department, who also doubles as the Project-lead, Dr. Peter D. Musa while dilating on why the project is focusing on mushroom cultivation hinted that it had been a neglected and an underutilized crop despite its ubiquitousness.
Dr. Musa went on to underscore the various components of the four-month Diploma program which according to him includes compost preparation, spawn production, classroom tuition, laboratory training, and internship.
He further disclosed that the four-month project was advertised nationally and that youths and other vulnerable people from across the country applied, and informed the trainees that they will be provided with accommodation during the course of the training.
Dean, School of Natural Resources Management, Professor Julius Olapade admonished trainees that developing their skills will make them employers, income generators, and self-reliant. He called on the trainees to be disciplined and committed and consider the training as a lifetime opportunity.
Professor Alieu Bah, Dean School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, who represented the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Njala Campus, Professor Bashiru Koroma emphasised the importance of the mushroom vegetable and commended the Department for selecting a good number of females for the training.
He committed the Administration’s support to the project to bring it into fruition.
Head of Department for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Dr. Mathew Didilyn Kpundeh while giving the Keynote Address implored the trainees to consider the program a choice, chance, and change, adding that the trainees were chosen to combat food security in the country.
He commended trainees for making the right choices while also entreating them to acquire the skills needed to create the required change in their communities.
Njala University was among sixty-seven institutions nationwide that were selected by the World Bank and the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education to implement the Skills Development Fund Project.
The project will train vulnerable youths mainly women and the disabled with a view to make them self-reliant and contribute mainly to the development of their communities.
The University’s newest and fastest-growing school- the school of Natural Resources Management under the astute leadership of their Dean is expected to successfully anchor the program by training these youths.
The World Bank funding will provide laboratory facilities and experienced teachers at the Department with the view to support the training of the youths in mushroom production and cultivation together with other improved techniques.
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