On Wednesday 16 March, student representatives from Fourah Bay College (FBC), National Union of Sierra Leone Students (NUSS) and senior members of the college administration had the opportunity to meet with President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma to discuss their concerns following a protest staged by the students calling on the administration to address issues of registration, accommodation, social facilities on campus, transcripts among others.
The president urged the college administration as well as students to remain engaged in order to amicably address the concerns of students as well as seeking their welfare and access to quality education.
President Koroma admonished the students to develop sterling character that should be integral to their academic pursuit and also ensure that they comply with the rules and regulations of the university.
He reaffirmed government’s commitment to improving the educational sector by increasing support to universities and schools, increasing government Grant-in-aid support to 70% and every other aspect of the educational sector.
With this, the president expressed hope that the students will go ahead with their registration, pay 50% of the remaining 30% of fees that should be paid by them and further hold detailed deliberations on the overall concerns and issues highlighted.
Infrastructure, he said, has been a major challenge but assured that the BADEA project which will start soonest would address the issues of accommodation and provide adequate classrooms for students. He urged the college administration to fast track some of the action points and work as quickly as possible to improve facilities that are required for a conducive learning environment.
Prior to the president’s intervention, there were resolutions reached during a pre-meeting with student leaders, FBC administration, the Minister of Education, the Secretary to the President, the newly appointed ministers of Youth Affairs and Information and Communication that the students have been given an additional week for registration coupled with the two weeks earlier given.
This would now mean that the deadline for registration will be on the 1st April 2016. Added to this, 50% of payment of tuition fees should be made, and Dr Minkailu Bah clarified that students with two trailers should only pay for the two modules failed and not to pay for the entire year.
It was also resolved that government will also fast track the implementation of the BADEA project. The administration also put together a proposed governance structure for students which will be dialogued by both parties. It was also agreed that by April, students would be given the opportunity to form student representation on campus.