By Allieu Sahid Tunkara
After so much publicity around the proposed online lecture being provided by the University of Sierra Leone (USL), students have failed to take advantage of the opportunity, a top university official said Tuesday.
Professor Sahr Philip Gbamanja, deputy vice chancellor of Forah Bay College, one of the three constituent colleges of the university, decried the attitude of students towards the on-line lecture programme at a ceremony where anti-Ebola equipment were been donated to the school ahead of anticipated resumption of lectures.
Schools and colleges across the country were shutdown about a year ago. And due to the fear of transmission of the Ebola virus, which experts say is contracted via bodily contact, the government has repeatedly delayed their re-opening.
The USL recently announced it had created over 60, 000 emails through which students will interact with their lecturers as alternative means of delivering lecturers in light of the continued closure of the college.
Professor Gbamanja said although emails have been created for each registered student, only few students had availed themselves.
“Only ten students have downloaded the lecture material evidenced by the assignments they have returned,” he said.
There is no indication yet as to when exactly colleges are to re-open. But in previous interviews, University of Sierra Leone registrar, Sorie Dumbuya, has said the decision rests with government.
Nonetheless, the authorities have been putting modalities in place, which include provision of relevant equipment that will allow for detection of Ebola cases.
It is in connection of this that First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma donated Ebola prevention equipment worth millions of leones to the university authorities. This First Lady donated 30 thermometers, five boxes of hand sanitizers, and two drums of chlorine.
The donation ceremony which took place at the Committee Room of the administration building at the Fourah Bay College on Monday, was witnessed by staff of the university, including lecturers from various faculties.
Professor Gbamanja said he met the First Lady in a forum last month where he informed her of their needs.
According to him, the college needed twenty thermometers.
Apart from the donation, he disclosed, the First lady had been supportive of the university in the area of offering scholarships to students.
“I am quite aware of the sensitive role the First Lady has been playing towards national development,” the professor said.
The First Lady was represented by an entourage from her office, headed by Moses Beckley. He spoke on her commitment to wards women`s issues in the country, which include the recent formation of the Civil Society Traditional Healers Association in partnership with the global children`s charity Plan International. This collaboration is geared towards fighting against female genital mutilation, Mr Beckley said.
The President, Academic Staff Association (ASA), USL, Dr Charles Silva, expressed appreciation for the First Lady`s gesture. He also applauded the effort of Professor Gbamanja who, he said, demonstrated leadership by conveying their concerns to her.
“I hope that the First Lady will be the bridge through which we can get to the President,” he said.
The ASA president rounded up his statement with an appeal to the government to pay keen attention to the college when it embarked on its post Ebola recovery strategy.
© Politico 17/03/15