Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 April 2022:
The value and importance of education cannot be overemphasised. Among the numerous values, education helps us become better versions of ourselves. It is one thing no one can take away from you if, and when acquired rightfully. But if the recent saga involving the Dominion Christian University (DCU) is anything to go by, then this version is a poor reflection of ourselves.
“On 16th March 2022, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) in a press release stated that the institution is “not accredited to operate in Sierra Leone “and directed them to cancel their planned award ceremony on 26th March. The DCU refuted the TEC’s claim and said that they are globally recognized and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Western Area Rural District Council (Cokorioko. Net-. April 4, 2022).
So, if the “university was warned by TEC on 16 March to cancel their planned award ceremony, and if the DCU by implication, defied the directive from the highest educational authority of the land and went ahead with the ceremony on April 2nd this year, you wonder where the University got the audacity and temerity to flaunt President Bio’s flagship arm of his “Free Quality Education” from.
But first, we need to ask a few questions for us to have some inkling about this whole mess. When did the TEC realise that “the institution is “not accredited to operate in Sierra Leone? “. Why was the institution not stopped from operating until the eve of their award ceremony? If the university was warned against conducting their award ceremony a month earlier, why did it ignore the TEC and went ahead in defiance of the warning.
Perhaps, the answer may lie in the names of some of its graduates of the day. There is a saying that “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings”. Just like if a blind man threatens to stone you, the possibility is that he’s already stepped on that stone.
This is the list of alleged illustrious graduates of the DCU:
Since the saga broke out, we’ve heard big names including the Inspector General of Police, Ambrose Michael Sovula mentioned in the alleged scam. Hey, I said “Alleged”. According to Cocorioko.net, “After seeing the video of Dominion Christian University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Ezekiel Bangura awarding fake PhD degrees to their students, the IG, Mr Sovula (Photo below), who himself is an accomplice and offender of the academic fraud initiated by Dominion Christian University, ordered the arrest of Dr Ezekiel Bangura and was apprehended by the police for conferring unrecognized Doctorates to their graduates “(Cocorioko.net, April 3, 2022).
Sadly, these so-called academies were not only run as private institutions by private citizens but could operate unchecked and unvetted. They operated as primary, secondary and second chance WASSCE and BECCE opportunities.
We all know that like hospitals, and anything with the qualifying adjective “private,” connotes excellence. The footfalls that followed these institutions raked in exorbitant fees from struggling parents, who did not only regard these institutions as value for money but became identity cards for their own social standings in their various communities; “na private school me pikin dae go”. Public and government schools became the refuge of the poor and have nots.
Were these institutions subjected to any standards or requirements by our governments? If so, was there a system to ensure regular inspection of schools like in my day? When you consider the rate at which these institutions were springing up, you would be forgiven to think that all you needed to start one, was an unfinished building and collection of school dropouts to operate.
So where was the Ministry of Education all this while, and over the years? Where was the TEC while the Dominion Christian University (DCU)was conducting its business, and according to TEC, on false pretences? Did someone, or some people turn a blind eye, because they stood the once in a lifetime opportunity to be called “Doctors”?