Now that classes have ended for the week, our team takes time to reflect on the first week of our summer school program in Freetown. Please enjoy this blog post from Charlie, Sabrina and Mucktarr.
The students were incredibly attentive and exceeded the expectations of our lecturers. They all clearly wanted to be there and showed up with an infectious and enthusiastic energy. This was great!
The students at IPAM all study business, so they were familiar with the topic of Global Finance. One of the key messages that Charlie brought to the students is the role of rice imports on the state of the economy in Sierra Leone. However controversial, when the students engaged with his ideas and debated them, they concluded in their class simulation that Sierra Leone needs to reduce rice imports and increase production of its own rice.
International relations, however, was foreign territory. Their panic on the first day eventually led them to develop a more comfortable understanding of the basics of international relations and global politics by the final simulation day. The students were intensely curious throughout these lecturers, often for the first time realising how the complex interactions of international phenomena shapes their daily lives. In the verbal feedback after the final simulation on “A plan for sustainable development in Sierra Leone” students noted that they had a better understanding of how different transnational actors interact with competing and overlapping interests to deal with global problems.
Reflecting on the experience, the lecturers believe that access to information is the biggest barrier to students in Sierra Leone. The students are talented critical thinkers who are bold in their ideas, but without access to online journals to keep on top of their fields, it will be impossible for them to compete with scholarly work in the Global North. It is clear that donors who wish to invest in higher education in Sierra Leone should focus on improving access to online journals, computers and better training in making sense of what is happening in their respective fields. Perhaps this is a challenge that PROWIBO can pose to those funding education here.
Sabrina, Mucktarr and Charlie
Many thanks to Sabrina, Charlie and Mucktarr! We wish our team luck in upcoming week of classes. Make sure to follow our live blog to receive updates from our team in Sierra Leone!