The Youths of Fonima, Funkia, Sherbro Town, Bush Water, Adonkia, Gbendembu and other communities in the Goderich community on Monday 29th June 2020 pledged their loyalty and unflinching support to the principal, administration and staff of the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) polytechnic to among others protect the college land, property and other facilities reiterating that they are at all times ready to support and collaborate with the college administration.
They made this assurance at a dialogue meeting of stakeholders representing the various communities at the Great Hall of the college campus, Goderich in Freetown during which Mr. Maligie Kamara explained the reasons for the dialogue meeting and introduced members of the community.
The principal of the college, Dr. Philip John Kanu enlightened that government has secured huge funds from BADEA to advance the college that cannot be actualized without land, that his three main objectives to improve the institution are quality assurance, renovation of the facilities and to transform the college to a Polytechnic University all of which he has almost achieved in four years adding that the College Council has endorsed the college quota of awarding two spaces to the community, appealed to youths in the community to caution land grabbers and stone miners who are destroying the land, that it is government that recruits and pays the salaries of lecturers and informed that the college also recruits people from the community.
Dr. Kanu symbolically handed over the college to the community, apologized on behalf of his predecessors for the lapse and appealed that they turn a new page in their relationship with the college as they have more plans for them.
The principal also recalled that when he assumed office, he paid the salaries of staff who had retired ten years earlier and entreated the people to appeal to the Minister of Technical and Higher Education to transform the institution to a Polytechnic University to train carpenters, electricians, shoemakers and other technicians to PhD level reiterating that they need the support of the community to realize this dream.
He went on to intimate that he has received several death threats from anonymous people not to pursue the land issue, appealed to the community for support to protect the land for the future expansion of the college revealing that all squatters on the college land have been given two weeks to negotiate with the administration stressing that all requests would be given consideration.
According to Mr. Idrissa Kainesie, one of the community elders, if the community was stingy they would not have offered the land to the college, commended the principal for his development strides to advance the college highlighting that their main source of income is fishing from which they are educating their children and appealed to the administration to give their children concessions like paying half tuition fees stressing that their children cannot attend college because they cannot afford to pay fees causing them to drop out of college education with some getting pregnant and engaging in other vices.
The people also called on the college administration to revisit and implement the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the college and the community to among others offer scholarships to students in the various communities attending the college, use of the college facilities like the conference hall, Amphitheatre, sports field and others as well as jobs for youths in the community and continued that during the Ebola outbreak in the country, the sports field was transformed to a treatment center and that it has still not be returned to its former state the reason they do not have a recreational center.
Another community leader, Mr. Charles Koroma disclosed that the college has qualified lecturers for its university status.
The female secret society member, ‘Sowie’ appealed to the administration to use the college land to initiate young girls into the traditional and cultural society that they cannot do away with, the community to benefit from the college quota, that the Lady Patricia Kabbah Memorial Junior Secondary School be upgraded to a Senior Secondary School and that teachers from the college teach at the same school that has helped their children to produce good results in public examinations.
Earlier, the Vice Principal of the college, Dr. Mohamed Alie Jalloh underscored the cordial relations between the college and the community since its establishment and assured that it would continue, observed that the community should have access to the ‘Sowie’ bush that has been encroached on in addition to massive erosion, that one of the reasons for the slow development of the college is that all former principals were not old students and assured that the community would be invited to attend all college functions.
Highlights of the historic event were the handing over of the college to the community, the PowerPoint presentation of the developments that have taken place in the college since the appointment of Dr. Philip John Kanu and donation of food items to the community for the traditional charity.