ARMED FORCES TECHNICAL AND EDUCATION COLLEGE HOLDS A COMBINED 2023 GRADUATION AND MATRICULATION CEREMONY AT HOCKEY PITCH WILBERFORCE BARRACKS............
2023 ARMED FORCES TECHNICAL EDUCATION CENTRE COMBINED GRADUATION AND MATRICULATION CEREMONY
On Friday 17th February 2023, Students of the Armed Forces Technical and Education College (AFTEC) marched form their institution to the Hockey pitch in their academic regalia in honour of their combined Graduation and Matriculation Ceremony held at the Hockey Pitch Wilberforce Barracks.
In his welcome address, the Director of Studies, Colonel (Col) Richard Sahid Bockarie affirmed that over 1,100 Students have graduated after the completion of their Certificates and Diploma Programmes in Technical and Vocational courses. The courses were supported by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Technical and Higher Education with assistance from the Skills Development Fund of World Bank and Government of Sierra Leone he said. In addition to the graduating Students, 120 fresh Students were also matriculated for certificate and diploma programmes for the 2022/2023 Academic Year.
The essence is to transform young men and women in various empowerment training in Technical, Vocational and Education courses at the AFTEC. The College was established by the decision of Defence Policy Council to support youth’s empowerment agenda of the Government of Sierra Leone. It started operations in 2018 with the National Council for Technical Vocational and other Academic Awards (NCTVA) accredited programmes certified by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). The achievement is to align RSLAF with technical professional capacity building with transformational endeavours of the Force. The National Education Policy provisions at the Senior Secondary and TVET levels had greatly influenced RSLAF aspirations to mobilize its human resource capacity to attain levels of educational standards in meeting development plans of the Force he maintained.
CJF decorates deserving student DoS- AFTEC Col RS Bockarie delivering
with medal the Welcome address and Course
Colonel Bockarie said the goal of the College was to develop a competency-based capacity building that includes not only technical skills, but other deliverables that promote components of technical education thereby creating positive shifts in the way their youth think of themselves. He added that, among the many human capital development initiatives of the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), was the youth empowerment agenda implemented by AFTEC. What they needed was to improve the structures of the college to secure higher technical training status from Category C to match with organizational reforms within the RSLAF at Higher National Diploma and Undergraduate awards at Category B. That the appeal was re-echoed by the Senior Management of the Ministry of Defence to rebrand AFTEC to a Technical Training Polytechnic institution that would affiliate with an awarding Higher Technical University within the country.
To this end, he stressed that the implementation of the Sierra Leone Skills Development project in 2021 and 2022 was a turning point in self-reliance technical training in the country. That college enrolled 869 unemployed and underemployed youth far above the required project mandate of 510 in the following occupational areas: like Fish Processing and Production, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Industrial Tailoring and Dressmaking, Mining/Extractive Industries Equipment Maintenance, Building and Civil Engineering (Construction) Maintenance. He said the courses were particularly selected to create multiplier effects on youth empowerment and provide public-private sector institutions the opportunity to provide students with local placement, attachment, and employment of their youth in the various project areas.
Band leading the Procession of AFTEC AFTEC Procession to Hocky Pitch
The Director of Studies AFTEC also affirmed that, the implementation of the Sierra Leone Skills Development Project (SLSDP) also saw the construction of expanded facilities within the MoD/RSLAF in Freetown that includes; Tailoring Industry at Juba with manual and electric sewing machines to promote training and production of uniforms in the RSLAF. At Murray Town, a fish processing building with 3-Choker Burner stoves was constructed by AFTEC through the SLSDP with improved preservation methods. The Fish processing facility would be used by various fishing groups in fishing communities creating a significant impact on promoting fish processing activities in Sierra Leone. That the facility was managed by the locals who were trained recently by AFTEC and supervised by a team from Maritime Wing and AFTEC.
According to Col RS Bockarie, the SLSDP extended their implementation activities to the Engineering Regiment of RSLAF with rehabilitation of a lecture room and supply of training tools and equipment. At the Electrical Mechanical and Engineering (EME) Juba, the SLSDP supported the unit with automobile tools and rehabilitated 4 classrooms to support training with work efficiency in the repairs and maintenance of RSLAF vehicles.
Delivering his motivational statement during the Ceremony, the Minister of Defence Brigadier General (Rtd) KH Conteh resonated to the audience that they were fully aware of youth capacity building role of the Armed Forces Technical and Education College. They were also aware, as a Ministry, of His Excellency’s youth empowerment agenda as a Government development priority administered by the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education (MTHE) to foster national growth through skills training and creation of employment opportunities.
Representative of the S/Leone Skills GoH Dep MHE - Mr Sajou Aziz Kamara
Development project making a statement delivering the Key Note address
He further expressed that the ceremony was a demonstration of the Ministry of Defence’s support to Government Flagship Programme by establishing AFTEC to train the unemployed and underemployed Sierra Leoneans in demand-led technical programmes leading to the award of Certificates and Diplomas. The AFTEC had operated for the past three years with commendable academic excellence and disciplinary records. The College was therefore well placed to implement Government youth empowerment programmes, including the Sierra Leone Skills Development Project (SLSDP) which he launched two years ago at Hockey the Pitch Wilberforce Barracks.
The Minister of Defence also noted that the RSLAF mandate had extended beyond their constitutional role to provide the enabling educational environment for professional execution of military duties and self-empowerment. The professional transformation could be achieved through progressive educational empowerment of men and women of the RSLAF to create an overwhelming impact on career development of personnel at any given time. Also, the empowerment posture of the MTHE was therefore, the nexus to influence the reform process in achieving professionalism in the Force through re-organization of its structures he maintained.
He therefore enticed all to take advantage of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and MTHE empowerment drives to be useful citizens of the country. He said that AFTEC required technical support from the two Ministries of Education, the Ministry of Finance and other line Ministries, Departments and Agencies to improve the current capacity of their Educational institutions, including their Services’ Schools to promote youth development activities. The support would earn AFTEC a category of affiliation suitable for the award of Undergraduate Degrees in Technical Studies to promote research and development priorities in the RSLAF said the Minister.
Senior Officers witnessing the Ceremony
He therefore joined the College administration to recognize the contribution of MTHE, the Skills Development Fund Secretariat and external supporting organizations for their invaluable role in the development of TVET in Sierra Leone.
In his Key Note address, the Guest of Honoour Mr Sajour Aziz Kamara (Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education) on behalf of the Minister of Technical and Higher Education appreciated the effort of the leadership of the MoD/RSLAF for their outstanding contributions in promoting education and youth empowerment skills training in Sierra Leone. The GoH furthered that, AFTEC is here to build the technical capacity of military personnel, prepare a platform to upgrade members in skills empowerment training, thereby contributing to middle level manpower development of the country. He stressed that the college largely targets civilians especially early school leavers with minimum educational standards, illiterate adults and general youth population for certificate and diploma at NCTVA programmes. He strongly appreciates that apart from the certificate and diploma level skills training, AFTEC also run Foreign Language Courses in French, Chinese, Arabic and non-Turkish as elective modules to both NCTVA and non NCTVA programmes.
DG-MOD decorates deserving student with CDS-RSLAF decorates deserving student
medal with medal
Additionally, he acknowledged the support AFTEC received from the Sierra Leone Skills Development Fund project from the GoSL and World Bank with a view to capacitating the college to train 510 underemployment youths in Sierra Leone. The project serves to creating sustainable employment strategy for the development of formal and informal sectors to contribute to national growth through skills acquisition. The programme will also increase access to demand-led skills training and build the foundation for skills development system in Sierra Leone under the SDF window. He emphasized that, AFTEC has the capacity to train more students but require more additional support especially from the GoSL and other partners to approve payments of salaries to staff and upgrade the status of the college to category B.
Finally, he joined the Administration of ATEC and MoD/RSLAF Senior Management to congratulate all Graduands with Matriculants and wish them well in their entrepreneurial endeavours.
Graduating and matriculating students of AFTEC at the Hockey Pitch
AFTEC Procession to Hocky Pitch
Directorate of Public Relations and Information
Ministry of Defence