Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has challenged graduands at this year’s convocation ceremony at the country’s second most popular university, Njala, to be bold, innovative and enterprising and take advantage of the many opportunities outside school.“There are strong opportunities in innovation and technology, especially in scaling and applying technology for private sector growth. So, to the graduates, the future is bright if you make those bold choices about what next and where you want to be,” he said.
As per Sierra Leonean law, the President of the Republic is the Chancellor of all its universities. Njala, which is headquartered in a community called Makonde in the southern Bo district, is best known for its tuition in the sciences, particularly agricultural science.
Some 1843 students graduated on Saturday and were awarded certificates from the level of diploma to Bachelors and Masters’ degrees to PhD in various fields of study.
“I want to use my swan song as Chancellor…to make Njala University and its graduates relevant, if not indispensable, to the national development of Sierra Leone,” Bio told the graduating class.
“Great expectations await you, our graduates. Soon, you will be breadwinners and financiers for every family or community-related problem,” he added.
In his address, the president also sought to address the “big questions” about the future of Njala University as an institution, vos-a-vis the practical steps needed to be taken to make it “even more relevant” to the development of Sierra Leone.
The convocation ceremony was convened on the theme: ‘Investing in Human Capital for Innovative Transformation’. Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University, Professor Abdullah Mansaray, said the theme was informed by a deep realisation that the old ways of doing things could no longer suffice in addressing the contemporary challenges of development.
He added that they were fully convinced that the entire country’s education system must be reconfigured with urgency to foster innovative transformation.