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Inauguration of eVBAB Learning Centre for online education from Indian Universities

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Prof. Alpha Wurie, Minister of Technical & Higher Education, accompanied by High Commissioner of India Rakesh Arora, inaugurated a Learning Centre for online education from select Indian Universities at the Library Building of the Fourah Bay College on 9 July 2021 (Friday).

The Learning Centre consists of a Computer Lab & Multi-media Room for students for attending lectures and taking examinations. All the equipment required for the Project (computer systems, smart-screens, networking equipment, UPS, furniture, internet connectivity, etc.) have been supplied and installed by the Government of India through its implementing agency Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL).

The Learning Centre has been set up in accordance with an MoU signed between Sierra Leone and TCIL during the visit of India’s Vice President to Freetown in 2019. The eVBAB Network Project [e-VidyaBharati (or tele-education) and e-AarogyaBharati (or tele-medicine) will be hosted on two different Portals.

It is learnt that the eVBAB’s tele-medicine services which would include Continuing Medical Education and Tele-Consultations would also be launched by India in Sierra Leone by the end of the year. These services would be provided in two hospitals or medical institutions initially.

Sierra Leone is one of the 16 African countries where this Project has been rolled out.

While expressing his gratitude to the Government of India, Prof. Wurie said, “with the opening of eVBAB Learning Centre, a transformation is visible. The Centre would ensure access to several books, journals and other academic material without having to travel outside of Sierra Leone. The students enrolled under this programme now have access to the best universities in India.”

He was happy to note that more than 200 students from Sierra Leone have already enrolled under this programme and are pursuing online UG and PG courses. The Minister announced that a similar Centre would be set up at the Njala University by India.

Speaking at the inaugural, the High Commissioner said, “the eVBAB Network Project is an effort to reach out to African countries and assist them in critical areas of education and health. The Project aims to provide quality tele-education and tele-medicine services by linking select Indian Universities, Institutions and Super Specialty Hospitals to African educational institutions and hospitals.”

He further said, “under eVBAB’s tele-education services, Government of India will sponsor eligible Sierra Leoneans to enroll for online PG, UG, and short-term courses from Universities in India, participating in the programme.”

The High Commissioner hoped that the Learning Centre will supplement the efforts of the Government which has a progressive agenda, with particular focus on education. The Project aligns well with the National Development Plan of the Government whose key goal is human capital development.

The High Commissioner reiterated India’s commitment to strengthen and expand bilateral partnership with Sierra Leone, including in the field of education, training and skill development, as India approaches its 75th Independence Day in a few weeks.

Other dignitaries present at the Inaugural included Brig. Gen. Prof. Foday Sahr, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone; Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Fourah Bay College, and Deans and Academicians from various Departments of FBC.