By James Tamba Lebbie
For the first time in its 45-year history the University of Sierra Leone has centralised and digitised its admission programme. This means that for the 2012/13 academic year the University Registry will handle the application process of all applicants wishing to enrol at the university.
Registrar of the University of Sierra Leone, Sorie N. Dumbuya told Politico that the University took such an administrative move because of the unitary structure of the institution, which has the Vice-Chancellor and Principal as its Chief Executive Officer.
He said students should be seen to be applying to the University and not to the constituent colleges, which he said was to bring it inline with standard practice in other Universities around the world.
Dumbuya said the new system had been instituted to enhance a better control of the admission process and to ensure uniformity in handling the entire admission of students.
Head of the Department of Physics, Dr. Edmond Nonie who is in charge of the technical aspects of admission, told Politico that the process entailed two stages – data entering and verification of results. He said he was only responsible for entering the data of all applicants while the University Registry would handle the verification process. Dr. Nonie said the new admission system would enable the University authorities plan adequately for the development of the institution.
He said they would also know certain facts and details including the overall number of students in the University, number of students in any of the three constituent colleges, students per faculty, department, and programme, as well as the student ratio in terms of age, sex, and region.
Dr. Nonie pointed out however that while the new system offered many benefits, which were absent in the old manual system, it was not without its own challenges. He said the existing application form was not designed with computerised processing in mind. He therefore called for a modification of the application form for subsequent academic years.
The centralised admission process at the University of Sierra Leone has been initiated at a time when the institution has embarked on a number of reforms including the pursuit of academic quality control to make it relevant in the 21st century and to revamp its visibility in the face of competition.