As part of the ULP’s activities supporting the expansion of opportunities for higher education in African Least Developed Countries, Professor Jenny Hamilton, Director of the Undergraduate Laws Programmes (ULP), and Simon Askey, Deputy Director of the ULP visited Sierra Leone earlier this month.
During the four day trip, Jenny and Simon met with His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma (pictured), President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Professor Hamilton also participated in a ‘current affairs’ programme on the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) television channel.
As part of a successful and very busy programme of visits the Laws team also met with representatives of the British Council, the Guinean High Commissioner, the Guinean Minister for Communication, the Sierra Leone School of Law and also with IMAT, a new institution seeking to become a candidate institution in Freetown, as well as a number of successful graduates of the University of London International Programmes. One (Mr Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke), is a graduate who studied at Holborn College and is now an Appeal Court Judge, whilst the former Chief Justice of Sierra Leone also obtained his LLB, LLM and PhD from the then External Programme.
As an LDC, and following a decade of devastating civil war and the displacement of over two million people, the infrastructure in Sierra Leone obviously presents significant challenges. Internet access is limited, roads are basic and power supply fitful. Nevertheless there is clearly an enormous hunger for education, a significant demand for law qualifications, and considerable goodwill towards the study opportunities presented by the University of London International Programmes. We very much hope that this fruitful visit has established foundations for what will be a successful future for the programme in Sierra Leone.
Earlier in the month Jenny also travelled to Canada where she participated in a marketing event in Toronto but also visited the National Committee on Accreditation of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. There she met with the Managing Director to discuss the potential impact of the introduction of the uniform national requirements for all graduates seeking admission to a Canadian common law bar course and the associated policies relating the assessment of foreign degrees for this purpose. There was a helpful exchange of views and information and this visit will be followed up by a formal letter to the FLSC setting out particular areas of concern.