Milton Margai Technical University has on Wednesday 8th June 2022 met with a delegation from World Bank at the Inner Room Goderich Campus.
The visit by the delegation from World Bank was to meet with the university administration and to also assess the proposed facilities for the implementation of the entrepreneur training and the establishment of an incubation hub at the institution.
Milton Margai is one of the three universities that was selected by the World Bank to benefit from the project.
Mr. Kweku Fraser, a Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) specialist from Corporate Turnaround International (CTI) a consulting firm, who was part of the delegation, explained the functions and roles of the Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project, which he said is being funded by the World Bank that tries to diversify the Sierra Leone Economy targeting the extractive sector to reform the economy. One way to achieve that was developing entrepreneurship that would allow us to have more self-employed people, he noted.
Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency was another organization that focused more on the development of small and medium businesses.
Mr Fraser noted that these small enterprises are the engines of growth in any developing economy. He added that as a country we had not paid attention to these smaller enterprises.
Those two companies were essential partners of the project those universities are set to benefit from.
The team leader of the delegation Dr. Modupe Taylor-Pearce narrated a story with a nexus on how people in Sierra Leone and America had different mindsets towards work to produce something.
He noted that eight people in America would work to share among ten people whilst in Sierra Leone three people would work for ten people.
To him, that margin of work turnout in Sierra Leone could be one of the reasons for our creeping economy.
“The reason we are poor as a nation is that everyone is seeking a job rather than creating one. Other parts of the world have built the art of entrepreneurship and so they are always finding ways to develop the next Google or Apple. They believe entrepreneurship is creating a job for yourself,” Dr. Taylor-Pearce asserted.
Dr. Taylor-Pearce furthered that the four-month project was going to develop job producers/ creators instead of job seekers. He added that they were going to supply the institution with whatever, to fully capacitate our students to maximise their full potential.
Dr. Taylor-Pearce stressed that the core objective of the project was to identify the best practices in each of the three best institutions identified in Sierra Leone in terms of the work they did in entrepreneurship and fused them to come up with solutions to key issues collectively, noting that the key oxygen of entrepreneurship was peer learning.
He encouraged all to grab the opportunity and focus on the fundamental objective of the project which was to help cultivate job creators.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Milton Margai Technical University, Dr. Philip John Kanu (Associated Professor) thanked the delegation for visiting the institution, and for knowledge sharing through the brilliant presentation by the team lead, Dr. Taylor -Pearce.
He noted that the project’s objective could not be limited to the students; even the lecturers can benefit from it, as it would help them create wealth for themselves.
Dr. Kanu said that the project was vital because it was part of the institution’s five pillars of the strategic plans. The key ones that merged around were “Ensuring access and relevance as a Technical University.
He furthered that the objective was to move away from the traditional university system; but a university that would pay attention to addressing the middle-level manpower in the country.
“As a nation, we are still struggling because we are not paying attention to addressing that area, as it was the engine of growth and development.
As a university, they were looking at that aspect to create a niche out of it,” he said.
He spoke about relevance as an institution by training students to be self-reliant to create jobs for themselves without seeking employment.
This is one of the key benchmarks the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) looked at before allowing the institution to become a technical university he said.
Addressing the middle-level manpower, the Vice-Chancellor said courses in that area were not only limited to high school graduates but also catered for those who didn’t complete formal education.
He added that entrepreneurship drive could also be featured in other technical areas such as the Hotel and Tourism which he said was doing well in other countries.
“If we have to be seen as a relevant university in Sierra Leone, we have to pay attention to these areas,” he ended.
The event was climaxed with questions from staff of the university about the project to get a better understanding of the concept.
Earlier, the delegation was welcomed by the Ag Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Director of Academic Affairs, Dr Mohamed Alie Jalloh.
The team was led by the Coordinator of Short Courses and External Programmes, Mr. Papa N’jai and Director of Research Dr. Alhaji Ibrahim Sankoh to the proposed facility for the establishment of a future Innovation Hub at the institution.