Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 January 2019:
Last Saturday 19 January 2019, president Julius Maada Bio conducted a tour of the proposed construction site for the University of Science and Technology in Kono. In his welcoming address, Paramount Chief Fengai Kaimachende of Gbense Chiefdom said he is extremely delighted to host the president and his entourage on the inspection of a project he described as a landmark.
He said the people of Kono have long yearned for a university in the district that would reduce the burden of travelling to other parts of the country for higher education.
He stated that the people of Kono are excited about the proposal of a university in the district and lauded the government for thinking about the welfare of the people of Kono, adding that President Bio is a man with passion, determination and commitment to move the nation forward. He, therefore, called on everyone to support the New Direction administration.
Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Aiah Gbakima, said he is happy with the cooperation he has received so far from his colleague ministers in actualising the Kono University project. He disclosed that Gbense Chiefdom, being the host community, has provided 417 acres of land for the construction; and that after its completion, the facility will benefit children in Kono and other parts of the country.
“We will secure funds for the construction of the university through the Economic Community of West African States and they will send a feasibility team to Sierra Leone. There are a lot of processes involved before the final construction begins, so the construction will take time. After its completion, this university will help to improve the skills of our children and other children around the country,” he said.
President Bio said his presence at the site is a testament to the preference his government has given to the people of Kono district. He said he is trying to correct the historical injustice that has been meted out on Kono, as a district that has provided a lot for the country but benefited little or nothing. He added that for far too long the people of Kono have suffered and that he wants to change that by offering quality education in the district.
He said that by investing in education, his government is investing in the next generation of Sierra Leoneans. He also said that his government would establish two additional vocational institutes in the district to help in capacity building and skills development for youth. He encouraged the people of Kono to take ownership of the project and ensure that it is properly implemented.
“I am thinking of a Kono without diamond because we have failed to benefit from it. Kono has great minds that only need the platform. So, we are ready to make sure that the construction starts and ends in good time. We want to make our children attractive to the competitive global market and we can only do that through providing quality education for all Sierra Leoneans,” he said.