International Conference on Education and Development in Sierra Leone
Conveners: The University of Sierra Leone, supported by the Tertiary Education Commission and the
National Planning Committee for Sierra Leone @ 50
Venue: Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone
Dates: May 31 to June 3, 2011
This is a call for papers from interested scholars and practitioners
Conceptualization of the Problem
Sierra Leone used to be fondly called the “Athens of West Africa”. The early incidence of colonial rule in the Sierra Leone Colony meant an early opportunity for western education, earlier than in most other West African countries.
This led to an initial crop of western trained clergymen, doctors, legal luminaries, etc like
Samuel Lewis, knighted by the Queen of England in the late 19th century, and James
Africanus Horton, the first West African medical doctor.
This early highly trained manpower was to be exported to other parts of West Africa, like Ajayi Crowder, the first African Bishop of the Anglican Church who set up a Christian mission in Nigeria. Many who sustained the colonial service in places like Ghana and Nigeria in the later colonial period had their higher education in Sierra Leone, creating familial links among a new West African elite.
More recently, there have been questions raised about the quality of this education in Sierra Leone. A recent Education Review pointed to several reasons for decline, including the decade long civil war that exported much of the qualified manpower from the educational system. But there are reasons such as a declining economy rendering teachers in the school system to be poorly paid, a situation that preceded the civil war but was also aggravated by that event.
While the focus is on the economic factors detracting from the quality of formal education, concern is also being expressed about the direction of formal training and its value in creating a more functional work force and its impact on creating a sense of nationalism and patriotism, so critical in advancing the interest of the country among its citizens. These issues shift the focus away from numeracy and literacy. They impinge on factors that could significantly contribute to a more motivated workforce. Factors that relate to a sense of confidence and identity based on a properly valorized perception of one’s culture and history, that could make a citizen feel proud of her own values and self and by extension her country.
If this can be said to be desirable, then a proper training of the trainers is essential. To what degree does the contemporary curriculum contribute to an enhancement of these values? Who defines the curriculum? Recently, it would appear that voluntary agencies from abroad have been very instrumental in amending the curriculum of schools, imposing their own interests in what has come to be called “emerging issues”, issues like the girl child. What is the nature of training and re-training of personnel. This would shift the focus to institutions of higher learning where these teachers are trained.
Dialogue is necessary to focus on the building of the curriculum for schools and the enabling factor, the level of competence that the trainers in higher education have, based on the training and background they themselves had received. What was the nature of this background?
Another related factor, much pushed around today, is that of gender. To what extent are females marginalized in formal education in Sierra Leone? Recent meetings are suggesting that the education of the female is being hampered by cultural practices like female circumcision? To what extent in this latter an inhibiting factor? What is the historical experience in this regard in Sierra Leone? Can this be said to be a factor in the higher education of women in Sierra Leone?
A debate on these issues under the auspices of the University of Sierra Leone could contribute significantly in charting a proper way forward, particularly in higher education, the source of the training of the trainers.
The University of Sierra Leone is therefore proposing a conference on education and Development in Sierra Leone, where academics and practitioners in curriculum development and the training and re-training of teachers will dialogue with counterparts from other Institutions elsewhere towards a better understanding of the issues involved. This could help determine the way forward in higher education as Sierra Leone moves into fifty years of post independence sovereignty.
Papers may focus on any of the following broad areas:
1. Education in Sierra Leone since Independence
2. Curriculum Reform and Development since Independence
3. Teacher Training for Schools in Sierra Leone
4. Teacher Training for Tertiary Education in Sierra Leone
5. Learner Performance and National Development
6. The Economics of Education in Sierra Leone
7. Educational Management and Administration for National Development
8. Discipline and National Development
9. Adult and Non-formal Education for Development
10. Educational Technology and National Development
11. Education in Science and Technology for National Development
12. Educating about Culture History and National Development
13. Brain Drain and Brain Gain: Effects on National Development in Sierra Leone
14. Gender Education and Development in Sierra Leone
15. Peace and Conflict Curriculum for National Development
16. HIV/AIDS; Drug Education: their effects on National Development in Sierra Leone
17. The SABABU Education Project and Development in Sierra Leone
18. The Future of Education and Development in Sierra Leone
1 Papers will be peer-reviewed and published
2 Papers should not exceed 15 typed A4 sheets
3 Other matters related to conference modalities,transportation and hotel facilities will be published soon
4 Paper proposals should be submitted to:
Professor SPT Gbamanja
Dean, Post graduate Studies
University of Sierra Leone
4th Floor, University House
Fourah Bay College
5. For further information, please contact:
Professor emeritus, C. Magbaily Fyle
Paper proposals should be submitted to: Prof. Gbamanja,
Department of Education, FBC
For further information, contact Prof. Emeritus, C. Magbaily Fyle
C. Magabiley Fyle, Freetown. Fyle.firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Gbamanja, Department of Education,
University of Sierra Leone Email: email@example.com
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