Sierra Leone’s envoy to China, His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh and Sierra Leonean students studying in various Universities in the People’s Republic of China, have commended the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr Minkialu Bah for the minister’s relentless efforts in improving the country’s educational standard as well as meeting needs of Sierra Leonean students in China.
These commendations came following the payment of over eight thousand dollars for the shipment of learning materials and personal effects of 2012/2013 year graduating Sierra Leonean students studying in China, by the Sierra Leone Government (Ministries of Education, Science and Technology and Finance and Economic Development). The payment was effected through the Sierra Leone Embassy in the People’s Republic of China in January2014.
Prior to the election of President Ernest Bai Koroma in 2007, students used to get 20 ft container for the shipment of their learning materials and personal effects. But this trend saw a positive change when the APC led government started providing a 40 ft container for students, much to the joy and pleasure of students. This is same with the annual allowance they used to receive, which was increased to 1,800 dollars by the current administration as compared to less than 500 they used to get before 2007.
Giving his reaction to the issue, Sierra Leone’s envoy to China, His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh commended the Sierra Leone Government for always meeting the needs of students. He particularly commended the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr Minkialu Bah for providing the needed leadership in his ministry “and for ensuring that things are properly managed” His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh encouraged the Government and the Ministry of Education “to continue to do more not just for students here in China, but for all those they have been working for. This is a Government that cares for its people and one that knows the needs and desire of its citizens. When you meet the needs of students and ensure they get their education, that will go a long way in building the country’s human resource capacity”, His Excellency Foh said. Envoy Foh used the opportunity to encourage students to continue giving their best to their studies and ensuring they give their best to the country’s development process on their return home after their studies.
Adikali K Sesay, a PhD. Student in Human Kinesiology and Science at the Beijing Sport University is Secretary-General for the Sierra Leone Student Union in China. Speaking on the provision of funds for their container, he said development is a positive linear increase in status and that “the Sierra Leone students in China are enjoying this status of positive growth extended by the Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma led government” and as such “those who are face- blind to this concept will begin to doubt, but as the newly elected Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Students Union in China, I have the mandate to say aloud something which we are enjoying as students.”
According to Adikali Sesay, since the inception of their union, students have been struggling to get their academic materials shipped to Freetown after the completion of their studies. “Over the years, a 20ft container was provided for the students to get their materials back home. A sudden change took place immediately after the Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma took office in 2007. Immediately after he took office, students in china were provided with a 40 ft container for the shipment of their personal belongings.
Making reference to students’ allowances, Sesay said, previous students were receiving a little over $400 for one academic year which was an insignificant sum. “We are considered in the Agenda for Change and that of ‘Prosperity’, were our allowance is now over four times that which those other students were receiving from the previous government.”
On behalf of the general student body in China, Sesay extended an appreciation to the Minister of Education Dr. Minkailu Bah for his tremendous job in meeting their needs in China.
The Sierra Leone Government has in the last couple of years been working tremendously hard to ensure student welfare matters are handled by the relevant ministries, including those of education and finance. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations over four decades ago, China continues to support Sierra Leone in various fields including education, infrastructure and health amongst others. In the area of education, Sierra Leone continues to receive dozens of scholarship opportunities from China.
Also worthy of note, however is Sierra Leone’s role in ensuring China’s entrance into the UNGA, a leading role played then by SAJ Pratt, who was Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister at the time.
Since his appointment as Sierra Leone’s envoy to China, Victor Bockarie Foh, on his part has always been working hard to lift the bars of cooperation ties between the two countries, especially in the areas of culture and people-to people diplomacy, amongst other areas.
Envoy Bockarie Foh has also been pushing hard to get more Chinese investment into Sierra Leone, in line with President Ernest Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity. “Having worthy Chinese investors into Sierra Leone is my dream, in line with fostering the diplomatic and economic development ties between the two countries” said envoy Foh recently.