Enhancing Quality Education in Higher Learning Institutions…

SPHEIR Trains Njala University Lecturers on Critical Thinking Skills Delivery

The Assuring Quality in Higher Education in Sierra Leone (AQHEd-SL) project under the Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) programme has on Tuesday and Wednesday, 8th and 9th June 2021 conducted a two-day Critical Thinking Skills (CTS) training workshop for lecturers at the Career Advisory and Placement Services Centre (CAPS), Bo Campus, Towama location.

The two days training workshop brought together forty (40) participants mostly lecturers who represented various Schools and Departments from both Campuses of the University.

While opening the session on the first day of the training, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Bo Campus, Professor Mohamed Syed Fofanah welcomed participants and expressed the need for all staff to participate and wished that the training had its desired results.

Director of INSLACS, Dr. Phillip F.Y. Thulla who gave a brief overview of the previous training, suggested that certificates be awarded to participants at the end of the session thereby motivating them to enhance their corporation.

Dr. Phillip F.Y. Thulla, Director of INSLACS gives an overview of the previous training

When explaining the background to the training, Georgiana Allie, Lead-facilitator, Critical Thinking Task Force Officer for Njala University and Lecturer at the Department of Engineering under the School of Technology, revealed that AQHEd-SL as a component under the SPHEIR programme is funded by the UK Aid through SPHEIR led by the University of Sierra Leone, including Sierra Leone partners like Njala University, the University of Makeni, Tertiary Education Commission, Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers, Freetown Teachers College, Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology, Eastern Polytechnic, 50/50 Group and the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology — plus UK partners King’s College London and INASP, as well as the University of Illinois from the United States, to develop a culture of quality in higher education with the view that Sierra Leone’s Higher Education system has faced challenges of poor financing, limited staff training opportunities, and lack of effective quality management system thereby leading to the inability of instructors to align course contents with the aspirations of students and the needs of the job market.

Georgiana went on to state that the AQHEd project is bringing together higher education institutions across Sierra Leone to improve quality management in higher education and support the introduction and implementation of outcome-based education with the ultimate aim to bring about a student-centred focus within higher education across the country, leading to a more responsive and capable national workforce.

Explaining the successes of the project, Project Officer, SPHEIR/AQHED-SL Njala University Agriculture Cluster, Monya Konneh, averred that 123 modules have been revised across four undergraduate degree programmes in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), Health, Management and Agriculture.

Project Officer, Mr. Mornya Konneh leading the session

He added that the programme content and pedagogical approaches of these modules are now aligning with employer needs, adding that 27 programmes across the seven higher education institutions participating in the project are independently revising their curricula using templates and support from AQHEd-SL staff and systems.

The two days critical thinking skills delivery training covered areas on lecture planning that strengthen students’ critical thinking skills, identifying and expressing learning outcomes, planning teaching and learning activities, critical learning assessment, and constructive alignment of learning outcomes, assessment and Teaching and learning activities.

Delivering on the mode of a critical thinking assessment, Dr. Tamba Kebbie, Curriculum Package Lead, Critical Thinking Task Force Officer and Director, Centre for Pedagogical Excellence, Njala University went on to explain the reasons, importance and criteria for a critical learning assessment.

Dr. Tamba Kebbie, Director, Centre for Pedagogical Excellence delivers on the mode of critical thinking assessment

The closing session after the training was done by the Deputy Registrar for Bo Campus, Anthony Habib Kamara.

Deputy Registrar, Bo Campus, Anthony Habib Kamara delivers brief statement that marks the close of the training
Mr. Vandy Kanneh, Lecturer INSLACS makes presentation on a group activity

This article, written by Alhaji Umaru Gbow, was first published on the Njala University blog here.

The #SPHEIR project Assuring Quality in Higher Education in Sierra Leone.