In finding ways of reducing this economic loss to farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFFS) and partner organizations have been working hard to proffer solutions to this long standing challenge; and one of such mechanisms is devising a curriculum to train para veterinarians in respective tertiary institutions offering courses in agriculture especially animal production.
Recently, a three day meeting was convened by the Ministry of Agriculture in Makeni and participants were drawn from partner organizations/institutions including the University of Makeni, Earnest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology, Milton Margai College of Education and the parent body: Ministry of Higher and Technical Education etc.; and top on the agenda was to validate a curriculum to train the middle man power that would be on the fore front in tackling problems associated with animal husbandry.
In his keynote address, the Deputy Chief Agriculture Officer – MAFFS said, para veterinarians are professionals between high school and university level. Sorie Mohamed Kamara confirmed that, none of the tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone is offering veterinary science as a discipline, the only course being taught by respective universities is animal production.
Emphasizing on this document, Mr Kamara states that, the whole process started at N’jala University where several stakeholders both in the fields of agriculture and education were invited to make valuable inputs in devising what he referred to as a blueprint in the field of para-vet. As a national document, he continued, it would be circulated to the respective learning institutions after the validation process is completed in Makeni.
With this new curriculum, trainees or graduates in para veterinary across the country would be having similar trainings in animal production – because all the related courses will be harmonized, he added.
Expressing delight on this curriculum development, the Vice Chancellor – EBK University said, the exercise is timely – as it gives the opportunity to train the middle man power. Prof. Edwin Momoh went on to say that, curriculum development is one of the mandates of tertiary institutions, but if the ministry of agriculture and its partners opt to take such venture, this a demonstration of continuous partnership between universities and the ministry.
He further said that, the adopted document would help to ease the number of challenges being faced in training para vets in the country.