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Education Minister Receives Fulbright Fellow

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Education Minister Receives Fulbright Fellow

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The Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) has officially presented the Fulbright Fellow recruited by the America Government, Professor Desmond Brown to the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Alpha Wurie at the Ministry ‘s New England Ville conference room in Freetown.

The Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Alpha Wurie asserted that it is always good to receive MMTU at the Ministry, that the name Technical University is legally correct as they await the inauguration ceremony, hoped that he would receive several of such Fulbright Fellows from the diaspora underscoring that Sierra Leone has not fully tapped the capacity of its citizens in the diaspora and called for the institutionalization/database of Sierra Leonean professionals in the diaspora.

According to the Minister, MMTU is in a unique position and appeal to Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora to come home for short terms to capacitate their colleagues, that the hospitality sector should also look at local tourism and that workers in the sector must be confident.

He also disclosed that government has mandated the Ministry to upgrade staff of tertiary institutions to PhD level in African and other countries intimating that there has been a fivefold increase in the number of students taking the West Africa Senior Secondary School Examination, that staff must identify and single out talented and best students but stressed that the focus now is on technical/vocational education and implored the college to aim for the best.

Dr. Wurie further revealed that last year the Ministry of Health received 60 doctors, nurses and pharmacists from the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Technical Aid Corps and that accommodation was provided for them nationwide noting that similar appeals would be made to the Indian government for an Information Communication Technology (ICT) platform and assured the college of support in the areas of human resource, laboratory and research facilities.       

The MMTU principal, Dr. Philip Kanu revealed that the college is very grateful to the Minister and team for their invaluable support to the college, that he is humbled and pleased to introduce Professor Desmond Brown to among others review the curriculum and capacitate lecturers in the hotel, hospitality and tourism sector to position the college to quality heights and is optimistic that he would create impact at the end of his tenure.

Dr. Kanu also recalled the three objectives of the college when he assumed office which are infrastructural development, quality assurance and transforming the college to a Technical University and commended the Minister for increasing the salary of staff that has prevented strike actions reiterating that the college is complementing the efforts of government to train the country’s human resource. 

He further informed that Professor Alpha Wurie stood in Parliament for almost five hours to defend the University Act, that professor Brown is in the country to support the hospitality sector to move forward and that he started negotiating for his coming two years ago asserting that he would also plan to train people in the sector upcountry as he has vast experience working in Africa and Asia and now wants to give back to his native Sierra Leone in spite of the challenges.

According to Dr. Kanu, he is in negotiations with the Nigerian High Commissioner in Freetown to reactivate the Technical Aid Corps that send professionals like doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others to fill vacant positions in Sierra Leone and other African countries adding that they have identified some few professors who are ready to come and work in Sierra Leone.

Responding, Professor Desmond Brown revealed that he attended the Sierra Leone Grammar School, worked at Yasbeck Tours before he left home 40 years ago and that he spent 22 years at the University of Kentucky.  

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Gilbert Cooper welcomed all to the event while the Chief Technical Adviser in the Ministry, Dr. Josephus Brima was optimistic that Professor Desmond Brown would create the desired impact in Sierra Leone and wished him a fruitful stay in the country.

The vote of thanks was rendered by the Head of the Faculty of Hotel, Tourism and Nutritional Sciences, Ms. Aminata Bangura.

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