As the University celebrates a time where more female students are being admitted than male students, students and staff reflect on their situation.
For years women have been left behind in the attainment of higher education in the country particularly in northern Sierra Leone, where UNIMAK is located. But this year the number of female students admitted to the University is double that of male students proving there is now steady progress in women’s attainment of higher education.
One Development Studies student describes the University of Makeni as an excellent higher institution of learning for women in Sierra Leone because the college never goes on strike like other colleges in Sierra Leone. Resident student Mamusu Turay said life in the college is very normal because the university is well planned and organized when compared with other universities: “We are encouraged to learn. Lecturers don’t go on strike, there are better toilet facilities and a tidy campus with a good library” she said.
Mamusu Turay’s challenge now is “to keep the banner high and come up with a first class degree that my parents will be proud of.” She feels it is the level of sensitization in the country by the university that make more female students apply to gain admission than male students this year, and now parents are doing everything to support the education of the girl child. “Like for me my father is doing everything to support me. While many female students in the university are faced with many tuition problems, most parents of the female students are going extra to support us” she said.
Impressed with lecturers
Dentuma Kamara is a first year Law student. She said she was impressed with the lecturers performance in the first two months of classes. “We started classes in the first week of October while other colleges had still not started anything. We have gone further with classes than them” she said.
Dentuma thinks there are more women this year than men because the university is more aggressive in its campaign to encourage more women in the university. “I think I have a future upon completion of my studies in this university because there are more opportunities there waiting for me as woman” she said.
The acting vice chancellor of the country’s first private university, Rev Fr Joe Turay said “There is a growing awareness of the need for education for women because only three percent of women in Sierra Leone can access tertiary education.” He said the university’s female students are coming from all parts of the country, but the north is also catching up with Guadalupe Secondary School in Lunsar providing the majority of the students coming from the north. “There is huge support for women from the catholic sisters in Lunsar who provided scholarships for most of our female students coming from Lunsar and the religious congregations.”
Empowerment of women
Professor Turay said the university, through its international partners, has also given international Masters scholarships to female students who did very well, because it is not easy for a woman to match up to university standards in Sierra Leone. To have such a large number of women in the university means the country is moving forward with tertiary education, gaining grounds in the north and in the entire country.
“If we support women we will see the outcome in every aspect of development. For me I think if the women are educated the country will be free from many problems. Part of our university strategic plan is the empowerment of women. The more we send forth women from the university the more we build a better human resource development. Our challenge in the north is more students passing the WASSCE exams. We all have to ensure that we take the education of women seriously. This is work we all have to do. As a church, as a mission we are playing our part, we are doing our best to promote the education of the girl child in the country.”
“Do you know it is a fact that if a woman is educated she can be three times more productive than a man?” he jokes.
Peter A B Lansana – Programme Manager
The MBA Programme in Global Business and Sustainability – Social Entrepreneurship Track is being organized by the ALTIS, Postgraduate School of Business & Society of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan, Italy (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore) in collaboration with Tangaza University in Kenya and the University of Makeni (UNIMAK).
The UNIMAK MBA Program start in September this year aims to create a sustainable higher entrepreneurship education in Sierra Leone through training and support
young, local entrepreneurs involved in the start-up of economically viable and environmentally sustainable businesses in the sectors of agriculture and energy access/efficiency.
The MBA Programme opens doors for participants in terms of career prospects and the start-up of new business opportunities. The MBA ‘Global Business and Sustainability – Social Entrepreneurship track, aims at creating a concrete answer to one of Sierra Leone’s most pressing needs: employment and job creation. The Programme has been designed with a unique formula that combines the academic features of an MBA in Entrepreneurship with actionable business tools and networking opportunities for investments. The aim is to offer participants a chance to keep developing their Social Businesses while understanding the keys to grow them and increase their positive impact on the society.
The program is further designed to:
a) immediately create potential entrepreneurs capable of operating in two of the most important sectors for the development of the economy of Sierra Leone (providing innovative solutions for access to energy technology, and renewable resources, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the efficiency of regional agricultural and food markets) and offering a response to the needs of the labour market in Sierra Leone;
b) generate a sustainable educational infrastructure that will make UNIMAK capable of delivering quality entrepreneurial education from time to come. The program will consist the adaptation of an education model that has already been successfully implemented by Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya.
The UNIMAK MBA entrepreneurship is structured on a part-time formula to enable participants to keep track of their businesses while attending the course. Distance learning materials and tools have been developed to allow participants to effectively pursue the MBA Programme. A team of local and international mentors and coaches support participants in every step they take to start up their businesses. This highly qualified international faculty represents a crucial element for the success of the MBA programme.
However, the real plus for participating in the MBA Programme is the participants becoming part of a system that:
– Supports you in the fine tuning of your business idea;
– Helps you in defining courageous goals, in developing your team building skills, in combining strategic imagination and financial discipline;
– Facilitates access to financing for the implementation and sustainable growth of your business;
– Creates stable links with a network of Sierra Leonean and international entrepreneurs.
At the end of the Programme, there will be a ceremony where participants will present their business plans to a panel of international entrepreneurs and investors. Links will be created, funds will be raised and ideas will be launched.
For details on how to apply follow this link.
UNIMAK – MBA Secretariat
In his Convocation Address 2014, the Vice Chancellor describes how the University of Makeni meets the challenge to be creative, innovative and relevant in the fields of science, technology, the humanities and the creative arts, while expanding to the point where the overall registered student population is over a thousand and two hundred students, which includes over 344 female students. He highlights initiatives such as:
- The establishment of the Executive MBA course which will enable higher entrepreneurship education
- The development of the University as the Centre of Special Needs Education in the Mano River Region
- The innovative Remedial Programme which is supporting those with few credits to complete their grades for accessing tertiary institution. Over a fifty percent of the 200 students enrolled over the past years have successfully completed degree programs, diploma and HTC program in tertiary institutions in the country
- The work of the University as a key partner of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in institutionalising mental health training in the country.
Read the Vice Chancellor’s address in full here.
Dr Adonis Abboud at UNIMAK‘s third Convocation
In a speech to mark the third Convocation of the University of Makeni, Dr Adonis Abboud, Chairman of Capital Radio Sierra Leone, shared his vision of challenges facing the graduating students of UNIMAK, the University authorities and the government of Sierra Leone.
Delivering a lecture on 14th February 2014, Dr Adonis spoke of the future direction of teaching and learning, and how the rise of online learning challenges universities like UNIMAK to rethink their traditional university lecture approach. He spoke enthusiastically about the way that the power of computers might be used in Africa to better agriculture, education and health.
Describing how education and technology enables people to become more efficient and expressive in whatever their field, he highlighted the need for students to be empowered with critical thinking skills, and challenged the government of Sierra Leone to effect an urgent transformation of the educational sector.
Adonis Abboud UNIMAK Trophy
Best Male Graduate, Albert Deen Kamara receiving a cheque for Le4,450,000 ($1,000)
In what he described as “my little contribution to efforts to challenge our students and get the best out of this dwindling pool of talents available to carry the burden of the nation’s future” Dr Adonis announced that to challenge and encourage graduating students of this great institution he was launching the ADONIS ABBOUD UNIMAK TROPHY, for the best male and female graduates of the University of Makeni, as part of the convocation. In addition to the glittering trophy, the winners each receive a generous cash sum of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.
Read Dr Abboud’s speech in full here
UNIMAK staged its third Convocation Ceremony for the conferment of degree and other awards on Saturday, 15th February 2014. The ceremony took place at the Fatima Campus of the University. The ceremony started with a procession of the Graduands, the academic staff of the university led by the University Marshal, followed by the staff of other universities. The Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and Registrar of UNIMAK then followed.
The ceremony was opened with a welcome statement delivered by the Pro-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Sahr P.T. Gbamanja. In his opening statement, he thanked all present for coming to grace the ceremony and congratulated the graduands for their hard work, sacrifices and zest: “I want to say it is really not an easy task to go through a course, it really calls for more than just reading and attending classes. Because you gave up your time to work hard, offer many sacrifices and zest to overcome the many academic challenges, I really I want to thank you.” Prof. Gbamanja said. The convocation proper started with the conferment of a Doctorate Degree of Social Entrepreneurship (Honoris Causa) on Mr. Vincent L. Kanu for his achievements in the business sector. On receiving the award, Mr. Vicent Kanu thanked the University for its support and recognition of his contributions in the business sector.
A total of 103 awards were conferred: 13 Masters Candidates, 64 Bachelor Degree candidates, 8 Post Graduate Diploma Candidates, 16 Diploma Candidates and 2 Certificate Candidates, in various disciplines. Unique to this ceremony was that the Graduands received their original certificates on the spot. Students who performed very well during their courses were also given prizes for their excellent performances. The ceremony was also used as the occasion to launch the new MBA Programme in Global Business and Sustainability. This programme aims to create a sustainable higher entrepreneurship education in Sierra Leone through training and support of young, local entrepreneurs involved in the start-up of economically viable and environmentally sustainable businesses in the sectors of agriculture and energy access/efficiency. According to Manager of the MBA program, Peter A.B. Lansana, the MBA is designed for business entrepreneurs and will commence in July this year.