This came following a visit made by the President of the Australia-Africa Chamber of Commerce, Professor Diane Fleming. Prof Fleming is also the Executive Director of Ducere Foundation which supports educational programs across 17 African Countries.
According toProf Fleming, her institution’s interest to invest in Sierra Leone was propelled by Mr. Ansumana Usman Koroma’s strong desire to help his home country and contribute to the President’s Agenda for Prosperity.
Prof. Fleming was first received by President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House to discuss investment possibilities through the government’s robust recovery priority programmes and sound economic policies. President Koroma revealed that AUK is working for the advancement of his country and has been out there influencing the policy direction of the government of Australia for a greater focus to be paid to countries like Sierra Leone. He also recalled Ansumana’s role in the support provided by the Australian Government in combating the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease which claimed the lives of many Sierra Leoneans, and lowered economic growth.
Receiving Dr. Fleming at the University’s conference hall at Fourah Bay College, Mount Auroel, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, Prof. Ekundayo J.D. Thompson recounted that the USL comprises three constituent colleges, “Fourah Bay College (FBC) founded in February 1827. Later, in 1970, the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) and in 1988, the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) were established.” In the 2005 Universities Act, the three colleges were merged to become the University of Sierra Leone (USL).
He said the University’s door is always open for partnership that will enhance efficiency and therefore stated that, “we would be pleased to partner and would appeal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which provides the basis of partnership. However, Prof. Fleming presented a similar template of partnership documents signed with other leading tertiary institutions which will give an insight into the type of partnership required for Fourah Bay College and determine the area of collaboration.
Prof. Thompsom assured that the University Administration is readily available to welcome Prof. Fleming, adding that they will organize a public lecture for her on her next visit.
The Vice Chancellor said through the internally generated funds, the USL has been able to construct (yet completed) two buildings at the Institute of Public Administration and Management costing around five million United States Dollars.
On her part, Prof. Fleming said she will be extremely fulfilled to partner with the USL in terms of exchanging quality knowledge with one of Africa’s oldest universities. According to her, the partnership will cover distance learning programs in postgraduate studies in courses like Entrepreneurship and Innovation among others.
She asserted that the USL should be focusing more on building the foundation for their students to be business oriented, creative and innovative. That, she said, will help the graduands to be able to attract the job market and even become employers.
She noted that she is impressed with the development strides of the country and promised to bring in more Australians to invest in Sierra Leone.
The National Coordinator-AUK Network, Mohamed Sultan Daffae commended and appreciated Mr. John Kargbo, a senior lecturer at IPAM. He said the meeting with the USL Vice Chancellor would not have been fruitful without his steadfastness. He described the investment in tertiary education as a golden opportunity that must be grabbed with a clear conscience.