The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education (MTHE), Mr. Gilbert Cooper on Tuesday 1st September 2020 revealed to the administration and staff of the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology polytechnic (MMCET), that after series of meetings with various stakeholders including the Ministries of Finance, Labour and Social Security and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), the Ministry has accepted the recommendations of the TEC for the MMCET and the Eastern Polytechnic to be transformed to Technical Universities.
MMCET will start the Technical University with three Faculties- Education, Technology and Hospitality as the college has the basic requirements for the new status in spite of the fact that there are still grey areas and as the principal, Dr. Philip John Kanu reiterated, the new status has a lot of responsibilities.
Addressing the crowded Great Hall of the college at the Goderich Campus amidst thunderous applauses, Mr. Gilbert Cooper highlighted other issues for the transformation of the MMCET and the Eastern Polytechnic to Technical Universities such as budget and financial implications and appealed to all to wait until October this year when the two institutions would be included in the budget. Mr Cooper further warned that it is the responsibility of all to lobby the powers that be for the new status and financial support.
He enlightened that the Ministry shares the dream of the college to be transformed to a Technical University, and that the principal and staff are on the right track, that the TEC has assessed the college and that the Ministry must accept its recommendations. Mr. Cooper disclosed that the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Technical and Higher Education is concerned about the TEC report for the MMCET and the Eastern Polytechnic to be transformed to Technical Universities with all its recommendations for which a committee of various stakeholders would soon be setup to implement the plan.
Mr. Cooper further disclosed that he is impressed with the developments that have taken place in the college since the appointment of Dr. Philip John Kanu.
He noted that government was paying subventions to tertiary institutions in the country but has decided to take over the payment of salaries; this speaks to the reason for the prompt payment of salaries.
He continued that the Ministry also discussed three major issues, subvention, salaries and grants-in-aid observing that government has other competing priorities.
The Permanent Secretary continued that there are few trained and qualified teachers for technical/vocational education, one of the reasons for the delay in transformation of the Eastern Polytechnic and MMCET to Technical Universities.
He noted that a policy would be adopted to train teachers and instructors and appealed to tertiary institutions that are on strike to resume work immediately and that not on strike to continue the good work. He further stated that government has promptly paid their August salaries and leave allowances and urged lecturers to resume work on Wednesday 2nd September this year.
The principal of the MMCET, Dr. Philip John Kanu revealed that he appreciates the team from the Ministry for the visit and commended the Ministries of Technical and Higher Education and Finance and the Government of President Dr. Julius Maada Bio for keeping to his promise to do away with perennial strike actions by academic staff who now receive their salaries on time and that they have received all allowances.
He also informed that in readiness for the new Technical University status, he has renovated the college including fixing all the toilets, that quality assurance is another benchmark, that the college now publishes results after the first semester and that 99% of lecturers have submitted their lecture notes emphasizing that the college has a zero tolerance against sexual harassment.
Dr. Kanu continued that the college submitted its application to the Tertiary Education Commission for a Technical University and that TEC is working on the issue with the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education asserting that news of the new status would be the news of the millennium.
Earlier, the Vice Principal and Director of Studies, Dr. Mohamed Alie Jalloh in welcoming all at the ceremony, said that the college is humbled and gratified for the visit and that the Ministry is represented at the highest level while the Registrar of the MMCET, Mr. Sheriff Bangura served as chairman.