Mohamed Macarthy: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 May 2019:
Imagine a situation where you enrolled at a college to study, and at the end of the year you take your exams. Months after completing your studies, the college fails to give you your results.
When you demanded to see your results, you are asked to pay additional charges as sweeteners to the lecturers just to have your papers marked. Despite knowing that bribery is illegal, you still went ahead and paid thousands of Leones to the lecturers. After a whole year has passed, you are still waiting for your exam results.
This is the story of students at the Eastern Polytechnic in Kenema, Sierra Leone, many of whom have put their career on hold. Some have missed out on opportunities to proceed on to higher education through grant sponsorships, or failed to gain employment, simply because they do not have their exam results.
They are now calling on the Anti-Corruption Commission to step in and investigate this ghastly affair.
The Eastern Polytechnic Kenema came in to being as a result of the Polytechnic Act that was enacted in parliament in 2001 under the leadership of late President Alhaji Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.
Eastern Polytechnic is the highest learning institution in the Eastern region of Sierra Leone, with branches at Woama in Kono District and Bunumbu in Kailahun District. It has contributed immensely to improving the country’s human development index and has produced a plethora of leaders who have held reputable positions of trust within the region and beyond.
In August 2018, sixty-seven (67) candidates in the Degree programs took their final comprehensive exams. The institution being an affiliated body to Njala University conducts its exams with the hope of sending their scripts to Njala University for re-marking. The whole exercise lasts for almost three months.
The Njala University in their own wisdom has conducted the usual comprehensive exams for all 2018 final year candidates and their results have long been published prior to the recent graduation ceremony held in Mokode.
But the Eastern Polytechnic with a much lower number of candidates is yet to release the long awaited 2018 results for reasons best known to them.
Why should students at the Eastern Polytechnic pay for their results before they are published, despite having already paid for marking as incentives for those lecturers concerned?
Students have expressed their dissatisfaction and disappointment about the way and manner in which the administration has maltreated them. According to reliable sources reaching this medium that this kind of development has never happened in the history of the institution and it is very much unprecedented and unfortunate on the part of the administration.
Some of the requirements needed for the exam is the complete payment of college fees and the addendum of two hundred and fifty thousand Leone( Le 250,000) which was paid to the exams’ office that will be given to lecturers concerned as incentives for the marking of those scripts.
President Julius Maada Bio campaigned on the platform of providing quality and affordable education to every student across the country. It seems the Eastern Polytechnic administration wants to subvert and undermine one of the key flagship priorities of this government.
It is very much disheartening for the Polytechnic administrators to have collected the sum of two hundred and fifty Leones from students for the marking of scripts. This is corruption to the highest degree.
The Registrar of Eastern Polytechnic needs to tell the general public why the delay in publishing those results.
Some people are calling for students take the law into their hands. But the days of students taking the law into their hands is long gone. Therefore, it is high time the authorities concerned – especially the Anti-Corruption Commission swiftly intervene to salvage this unfortunate situation which will not yield good dividend within the educational sector in the country.
Mr Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, the fate of those students eagerly awaiting their results lies in your hands. Most of those students have already been turned down for lucrative jobs as well as international scholarships due to the delay in getting their results on time.
The reason behind these misfortunes is that, upon termination of their respective courses, some of them paid for attestations and the duration for attestations is very much limited and as a result, they have lost golden opportunities to further their careers.
These students are the future leaders of Sierra Leone, and should not be treated this way.