The administration of Fourah Bay College (FBC) has in a press release dated Friday 11th March, 2016 suspended all lectures at the college for a period of two weeks.
The suspension is starting today Monday 14th March to Thursday 24th March, 2016, to enable students pay their fees and register. It also states that lectures will resume on Tuesday 29th March, 2016.
The press release further states that students should pay at least 50% of their fees before they can be allowed to register, to attend lectures and to take the first semester examination.
The release also adds that all students should have paid their fees and register for the 2014/15 academic year before they are eligible to pay and register for the 2015/16 academic year.
Reacting to this release, the National Union of Sierra Leone Students (NUSS) and individual students have expressed that they are filled with dismay over the sudden suspension of lectures merely few weeks into the start of the current academic year.
The president of NUSS, Mohamed Sheridan Kamara said that he was expecting the college administration to consider the current Post-Ebola economic status of the country. He expressed that the current educational timetable of the country has a very big challenge, as opposed to the normal schedule. He said the length of a single semester has been reduced as a result to the Ebola outbreak.
Mr. Kamara also explained that some students are in great dilemma on matters relating their promotion. He said since the start of the academic year, the college has not been able to issue out transcripts (results) to show that even registered students of the 2014/15 academic year have been promoted. He further stated that the university has a system in which students with three references in the two academic semesters of the year are repeated. He said it could be impossible for students to register when their promotions are not yet confirmed by the university administration.
The NUSS president said even if the suspension goes as planned, it would be impossible for every student to be able to complete his registration. He highlighted that the college lacks the basic infrastructural facilities to undertake the registration for the more than 4,000 students in two weeks.
The NUSS president also confirmed that they have completed a position paper and have copied the President of Sierra Leone (who is the Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone), the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellors of the constituent colleges of the University and the administration of FBC to channel concerns affecting the students’ welfare. He said the main point raised is the inclusion of a student representative body in the running of the college.
Meanwhile, Umaru Samai, president of Mass Communications Students Association (MACOSA) FBC, called for a decentralised registration process as a means of speeding up registrations.
A first year female student, Siegbeh Sesay, of the Faculty of Arts said that the suspension of lectures is really frustrating to students. She urged the government to intervene in the current situation so that the cry of students would be heard.
All efforts to elucidate further comments from the college administration proved fruitless. In the press release published on Friday 11th March, 2016, it states that the administration is advising students who have not yet registered, to do so during period of suspension of lectures, as it will be the end of registration for the 2015/2016 academic year.
It can be recalled that the Ebola Outbreak had caused the closure of colleges and schools around the country.
In a bid to make up for the lapses, steps have been taken to re-tinker the academic year with resultant unpleasant outcomes for both the administration and the students.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.