He further disclosed that Dr. Yumkelleh had no intention of demoralizing graduates from the said course of study but rather trying to address the country’s youth unemployment status.
He stated that KKY’s intention was to suggest an open dialogue between the government of Sierra Leone, private sectors, and tertiary institutions so that they could find amicable way of addressing youth unemployment in the country. “KKY should be an inspiration to students”. He added.
Dr. Matin Gbonda ascertained that the Sierra Leone job market is quite different from the university curriculum, and a situation he referred to as a paramount reason for youth unemployment in the country. He therefore advised that departments at the various universities across the country should be diversified and introduces new courses that will match with the current trend in the job market.
Responding, President of the Peace and Conflict Department at Fourah Bay College, Kpaka said that they were disappointed by the statement made by KKY and therefore referred to it as baseless and unfounded.
He confirmed that the Peace and Conflict Studies became an undergraduate program in the 2004/2005 academic year and that it their program did not produced up to one hundred graduates annually. The country produced thousands of graduates per year and 50% of them were unemployed while adding that amongst the 50% that were unemployed, one can only find few Peace and Conflict graduates amongst them.
Kpaka furthered that KKY personally told him that ‘we were no longer in a war situation and therefore they should not be reading Peace and Conflict’. He presupposed that Peace and Conflict graduates were the future of the world and therefore encouraged young Sierra Leoneans to go in for the course.
In his statement, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor Ekundayor Thompson said that Peace and Conflict Studies came as a result of the civil conflict we had in the country and that it was initially sponsored by the University of Bradford.
He reiterated that the course is relevant as it happens to be a way of constructing the human mind, to uphold peace and tranquility. “Since conflict begins in the minds, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed”. He stressed.
He further explained that they were not looking much at employment but rather focusing on developing the knowledge of individuals and societies. He went on to say that reviewing the university curriculum could be done as and when the need arises as every university was mandated to do such.
A Professor of Peace and Conflict, Dr. Jimmy Kandeh said that Peace and Conflict should not be a department on its own but rather should be folded in the Political Science Department.”Peace and Conflict is much narrower and therefore should not be a major” He added.
He disclosed that if Peace and Conflict graduates opportune to further their studies in the United States, would be placed in the Political Sciences as Peace and Conflict is only a unit in Political Science.
He concluded by saying that the problem with universities in Sierra Leone is that they have been seriously politicized and students including lecturers did not have freedom of speech.