The essence of the curriculum review exercise is also to critically scrutinize the academic programs in terms of relevance, responsiveness, appropriateness and standardize them to match up with international standards.
Furthermore, the development drive of any nation depends on the level and competence of its technical manpower. Sierra Leone is a developing nation and therefore requires a robust, well-trained and competent technical force to take up the challenge.
It is hoped that at the end of the exercise, academic programs will be revamped and graduates will be well-equipped with appropriate skills to join the job market.
Participants at the forum were Deans of Campuses and Faculties, Heads of Departments and Units, three members of the Examination Task Force, two staff each from the college’s Registry, the University of Sierra Leone and Njala University and the National Council on Technical Vocational Education.
Furthermore, the new system will reduce modules and courses as some two or three modules would be merged into one while credit hours would be reduced from 4-2 with the new credit hours to be between 120-130 as is the international standard, one of the criteria that will qualify the college to be in a better position to be approved as a polytechnic.
The Vice Principal of the college and Director of Studies, Dr. Mohamed Tabita Kamara informed that if approved, some of the new courses that would be offered include Veterinary Medicine, Aquaculture, Medical Laboratory Technician, that all degree courses are for four years, that holders of the Higher Teachers’ Certificate would be admitted at intermediate level to do three years before graduation revealing that the requirements for the degree courses are 5 GC ‘O’ Levels or WASSCE with passes in English Language and Mathematics.
He furthered that the objective of the review, that should be done every four or five years, is to keep abreast with modern trends as the curriculum has become obsolete disclosing that after the review, the new curriculum would be approved by the Academic Board and the Tertiary Education Commission before the courses are advertised.
The Vice Principal also underscored that the curriculum review is for the general good of the college as it would improve standards citing the installation of CCTV cameras in examination halls that he monitors in his office and the setting up of the Task Force to conduct examinations
Dr. Mohamed Tabita Kamara further enlightened that since we are living in a dynamic world, to meet international standards and to keep abreast with developments, it has taken between 10-15 years since the college’s curriculum was reviewed and therefore the need for the review is rife.
“The review will lessen the burden on both lecturers and students as before students must complete 300 credit hours to graduate. This will now be reduced to between 120-150 credit hours per day for degree courses. Also, some courses will be merged to reduce the pressure as for example; the timetable runs from 9 am-5 pm daily with classes sometimes conducted on Saturdays,” the Vice Principal informed.
He continued to articulate that at the moment, students take 21 modules per term unlike other universities in the world that would be reduced to between 8-12 modules per term and rated the performance of lecturers at about 70% underscoring that after the review, new courses would be added while others like Peace Studies and Social Work would be upgraded to degree levels intimating that the college started offering both courses that have been upgraded at Fourah Bay and Njala University Colleges.
According to the Vice Principal, some people are shying away from the classroom and recalled that the college was renowned for producing the middle-level manpower needs of the country and acclaimed the college’s new administration for doing a fantastic job reiterating that with the new curriculum, lecturers and students would now have time to rest informing that Fourah Bay and Njala University Colleges are part of the review process that would be approved by the Tertiary Education Commission before the college is granted a polytechnic status.
On the recent nationwide lecturers’ strike action, the Vice Principal informed that the college paid a month’s salary to lecturers in April before the government subvention was paid.