By Philip Makavore
The Freetown Teachers College, which is one of the renowned institutions for the training of teachers, has on Thursday 22nd April 2021, held its third matriculation ceremony at the FTC compound, Jui in the western rural area of Freetown.
In his opening remarks, Mr Samuel J.P Bonghor Sesay thanked the administration for giving him the honour to chair the program. He said that the matriculation ceremony is to admit students into the Teachers’ Certificate, Higher Teachers’ Certificate Secondary and Higher Teachers’ Certificate Primary programs. He went on to say that the Freetown Teachers’ college will soon be transformed into a polytechnic and it will be called ‘Freetown Polytechnic’. He disclosed that the college has improved tremendously in providing efficient and quality service to students. He said that their main aim is to provide human capacity development programs through professional training, adding that they have witnessed the commencement of the long-awaited degree program with various courses offered by students such as BSc and B.A Education. He advised that students who are matriculating should make a frantic effort to take their classes seriously.
The Registrar of the Freetown Teachers’ College, Madam Martyna Foday said that the college has been in existence since 1964, adding that they are now 57 years in existence. She went on to say that the college offers a huge opportunity to diverse learners. She added that the college provides learning opportunity for the enrolment of students to study through either Distance learning or Conventional Mode of Delivery. She congratulated students for successfully going through the process of admission, adding that they should bear in mind that there is a long distance between the matriculation ceremony and graduation. He urged students to take their academic work seriously and make their parents proud. He admonished them to attend class regularly, take their work seriously, and conduct themselves in a way that will not warrant disciplinary action against them. She concluded that the administration has zero-tolerance for any form of indiscipline, adding that they should show respect to their colleagues and staff.
The Principal of the Freetown Teachers’ College, Dr Samba Moriba stated that FTC offers the following programmes: Teachers’ Certificate, Higher Teachers’ Certificate Program and Higher Teachers’ Certificate Secondary in various options, Bachelor in Education, Bachelor in English and Political Science, Bachelor in Education Mathematics and Economics. He said that currently, they have more than five thousand students (5,000) across the country, adding that they offer two forms of the mode of course: Regular and Distance Teacher Education.
“We have 9 DTE Centres in Freetown (Western Area), Kambia and Mile 91 (Northern Province), Kailahun, Koidu and Sewafe (Eastern Province), Mattru, Moyamba and Pujehun (Southern Province),” he said, adding that they have more than 200 staff; nearly 150 are lecturers. To control examination malpractice, he said that every student has a unique examination number and a unique answer booklet. He went on to say that, the most recent is the construction of a 500-meter perimeter fence to protect FTC land from land grabbers.
“We have some funds now to complete the 9-classroom unfinished structure, which will also house a number of offices. Therefore, I feel honoured to be part of this noble institution, especially as the Principal, as we together celebrate another breakthrough,” he said, adding that they are gathered to share the joy and excitement of another Matriculation Ceremony; a Ceremony he said that, marks the official entry of every student into institutions of higher education.
“So, let me welcome you, our new students and congratulate you for securing admission into Freetown Teachers College, which is in the process of transformation into Freetown Polytechnic. I am excited to welcome you to this great institution, where academic excellence and core values are enforced in a bid to prepare you adequately for the challenges that lie ahead of you in our global village,” he said, adding that the occasion is indeed a statutory gathering with the primary purpose to admit deserving and qualified candidates who have worked very hard and are fortunate to be admitted into FTC. He further congratulates students, adding that their presence is a clear manifestation of the confidence they have in their service regarding teaching, learning, research and community service. He maintained that the ceremony offers students the opportunity to take the Matriculation Oath and after that, they will be requested to sign the Matriculation Register. Following this process, he said that the matriculating students will be entitled to all rights and privileges recognized by FTC.
“You will soon be swearing an oath of allegiance to the Principal as well as other officers of this College. As new students, in your pledge to be of good behaviour, you have committed yourselves to be disciplined and remain good Ambassadors of this College,” admonished students, adding that owing to the Corona Virus Pandemic resources to the tertiary education sector is limited to run the day to day affairs of the college. With the growing demand for higher education, they have realized that facilities provided to meet the increasing needs of staff and students are so inadequate. He admonished students to take good care of the available resources within the campus. He encouraged colleagues to use College properties with care just as you would take care of your assets. He further advised students to attend lectures regularly, complete all assignments on time, avoid all nonstandard behaviours, especially drug abuse, cultism, examination malpractice and hooliganism. Indulging in any of these behaviours, he said is tantamount to easy exposure to hazard.
“I need to further advise you to show respect to everyone here, including your colleagues and staff of FTC, especially my junior staff without whom we cannot function effectively as an institution,” he said, adding that adhering to all their policies will help them greatly. He thanked the government and the Minister of Technical and Higher Education for appointing him as the principal.
A student, Jennifer Jonnah Conteh pursuing a Teachers’ Certificate said that she is elated to witness the matriculation ceremony. She added that it was not a mistake to choose the FTC to pursue a Teachers Certificate, adding that she has the intention to pursue Bachelor’s Degree at FTC.
The Student Union President of Freetown Teachers’ College welcomed new students to the college. He said the day marks the beginning of their official stay in the institution. He advised them to focus and pursue academic excellence. He admonished them to dress modestly and interact with colleagues so that they can have the best from campus. He further encouraged them to pay their fees, adding that it will help the administration to do their work judiciously. He concluded that despite the dwindling recourses, the college is afloat to deliver good service to students and he assures the students of maximum security on campus.