The Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) polytechnic has matriculated over two hundred and fifty students from their distance learning programs at ZimmiMapala chiefdom, Pujehun district, Southern Sierra Leone.
The matriculating students were drawn from the three campuses of the college’s distance learning prorgam.
The Principal of MMCET, Dr. Philip John Kanu revealed at the ceremony that the students had enrolled in the college to improve their professional performance as teachers and underscored the need to take the college to the people as proclaimed by His Excellency the President, Dr.JuliusMaada Bio for polytechnics to take the college to the people.
He informed that the event is very colourful and attended by key stakeholders including members of the Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools, the Member of Parliament for ZimmiMapale, Hon. Sidi Tunis who had earlier requested that most of the teachers cannot attend college to upgrade themselves due to the distance and other family commitments.
Dr. Kanu also underscored that the college is renowned in teacher education in both Higher Teachers’ Certificate (HTC) for both primary and secondary schools and reiterated that the college is delighted to actualize the request of the President to take the college to the people underlining that even the chiefdom authorities are delighted with the development for which they have donated a portion of land to the college to construct a permanent structure to help both the college and the community and disclosed plans to introduce Tourism Studies in Pujehun that is rich in tourism as well as introduce courses in middle-level manpower training like carpentry, plumbing and auto-mechanic as well as establish the college in other parts of the country as the college has been approved as a Technical University.
According to Dr. Kanu, the Distance Learning program was introduced because the college observed during the last admission process that the number of people who want to access the college cannot be accommodated in all three campuses due to the lack of space as the college is making progess, the reason they are taking the college to the doorsteps of the people and commended the President and the Minister of Higher and Technical Education, Dr. Alpha TejanWurie for their support to the college.
He further revealed that distance learning is when you remove the physical contact between students and lecturers, that the modules are very robust and that once in a while the Director of Studies and the Head of Distance Learning visit the place, that the process is very effective as students access their notes and modules and are effectively monitored and that through the lecture platform, lecturers with students interact.
Dr. Kanu also pledged to take the college to Makeni, Bo, Kailahun and Koinadugu and other parts of the country all of which have requested for the college to establish the distance learning program intimating that in the past people crave for MMCET graduates as the college wants to bring back its past glory highlighting that MMCET is the premier college that produces quality teachers as well as technical education.
Christian Sandy, the Coordinator for Distance Education, MMCET disclosed that 360 students from the three centers matriculated in the Distance Learning Program, that the people demanded for the program for quality education to come to their doorsteps, the reason the college established various teaching programs to upgrade the status of teachers, that the mode of operation is very effective as classes take place during holidays.
He also talked about clusters during which qualified teachers teach the students on weekends, that the students are monitored, supervised and assessed using the National Council for Technical/Vocational Academic Awards (NCTVA) curriculum, that the communities, including the Paramount Chiefs, Members of Parliament and others, are very cooperative to address the problem of untrained and unqualified teachers.
Papa Njai, the coordinator of Short Courses and Distance Learning at MMCET said the event was very fantastic for both the people and the students, that the people want short courses as they cannot come to Freetown, that the college would develop programs suitable for them and promised to visit the communities again observing that each community has a different need and pledged to plan with each community and not plan for them reiterating that the college would design programs according to the needs of each community.
He concluded that the people are very excited with the development and promised that the college wants to maintain full presence in the districts.