27 January 2012
State House, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) have met with Principals and Heads of Tertiary Education Institutions, to discuss the need for those working in the sector to agree and sign Performance Contracts with the President.
The meeting was also attended by Vice-Chancellors, Principals and Heads of the constituent colleges and campuses of the Universities of Sierra Leone and Njala, Eastern and Northern Polytechnics, Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, the Tertiary Education Commission, NCTVA and Experts of the Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU).
SPU Director – Professor V. E. Strasser-King, who chaired the meeting, said that Performance Contracts were necessary, so as to monitor the activities of the institutions, based on mutually agreed targets.
This, he said, will ensure accountability to the Government, the people and their Clients, including Students and other strategic partners.
Professor Strasser-King also mentioned that Performance Contracts will help the tertiary institutions themselves to develop in line with international standards.
The SPU Director said that the government will establish an expert Committee on Tertiary institutions’ management and Performance Contracting, so as to assist at both the negotiation and evaluation stages of the process.
A detailed presentation of the Performance Contract system – covering the methodology, applications to all aspects of the management of Tertiary institutions, specific benefits to the institutions and the country, challenges and examples from other countries currently using it, was delivered by the Director of Operations in the Office of the Chief of Staff – Mr. Abdul Rahman Sowa.
Mr. Sowa said Performance Contracts will go a long way to building public trust in tertiary institutions, especially through the quarterly assessments, which will serve as Progress Indicators.
Representatives of the Tertiary Institutions sought clarifications, and received assurances on the continued independence of the Tertiary Education Commission, as well as the complementary role of Performance Contracts in achieving the objectives of the Commission.
Transparency, accountability, staff and student indiscipline and the efficient management of examinations and assets were cited as challenges facing the institutions.
They requested that the presentation on Performance Contracts be made to the appropriate staff of individual tertiary Institutions to facilitate implementation.
He observed that the country is currently facing a huge deficit in technical human resources, and stressed the urgent need to address this deficit, if the country is to exploit and manage its strategic resources and avoid dependency on expatriates.
Describing the situation as a huge challenge, the Chief of Staff stressed that half measures can no longer work and calls for an Academic and Private Sector Forum to find solutions to the problem.
The meeting resolved that both the Tertiary Institutions and the Strategic and Policy Unit, must continue to work toward negotiating, developing and signing individual performance contracts by the end of February, 2012.