Sierra Mineral Holdings 1 Limited- Vimetco through the Community Development Committee Gives Scholarships to 207 University and College Students within its Mining Concession.
Students across Sierra Mineral Holdings Limited–Vimetco operational areas on Thursday 23rd November 2018, where in jubilant mood as they received a total of Le 710 Million (Seven Hundred and Ten Million Leones) worth of scholarship to pursue their studies. The students who hail from five mining communities which include Lower Banta, Upper Banta, Kpanda Kemoh, Dasse and Bumpeh Gao Chiefdoms in the Moyamba, Bonth and Bo had the opportunity to be awarded scholarship with funds Sierra Mineral Holdings 1 Limited through the Community Development Committee (CDC).
In his keynote address the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Professor Aiah Kpakima admonished recipients of the scholarship to make good use of the opportunity noting that many other qualified students are out there in search of this opportunity. The Minister said the mandate of his ministry is to provide quality, accessible and relevant education to its citizenry. In achieving this mandate, he said such intervention from SHML-Vimetco is important.
Professor Kpakima pointed out that the Ministry will include in the University Curriculum environmental courses and the mining sector will play key on this. He said the ministry is now working assiduously with the mining companies to see how they will be able to adapt all courses to the needs of the mining companies.
“We will develop curriculum in line with the learning environment that will help our students to develop their skills and knowledge in various fields of study. Government aim is to ensure students after graduation are able to get jobs in various field in the extractive sector”.
The Acting General Manager of Sierra Mineral Holdings Limited – Vimetco Basudeb Datta in his statement said SMHL-Vimetco is giving these scholarships today because government is keen in developing the education sector. The government is also keen in developing communities and with Vimetco as part of these communities, we are also joining in this development drive.
The acting General Manager said students pursuing degrees, Diploma and certificate who applied for the scholarships are today the beneficiaries. The scholarship will help students and their parents in the pursuit of their education.
Mr. Datta said two hundred and seven (207) students from the five mining chiefdoms are beneficiaries of the scholarship. This is something SMHL Vimetco intends to continue to do and therefore called on the communities to support the company and stop any activities that will affect their production negatively. He appealed to communities to stop blocking roads that disrupt the company’s operations and forward all grievances through the established channel.
The Acting General Manager reiterated that the jobs at VIMETCO are highly technical and they need people with the expertise to run the company. He encouraged these students to study harder in order to be able to gain employment at top management with the company.
James Milla the Community Development Committee Chairman in his statement said this is the first ever scholarship of such magnitude in the history of these communities. He said they are glad as a people and community to be part of this laudable venture especially supporting our children pursuing higher education. Not many of the students have benefited from this scholarship he said but admonished recipients to make use of the opportunity.
He said students who do well will continue to receive the scholarship and that students who fail will not get the support.
Ibrahim Satti Kamara, the Community Affairs Director of the National Minerals Agency admonished students to make the best use of the scholarship. He said government is happy about the support especially support to the education sector which is the government flagship programme.
The trend is now changing in the mining sector and that the problems they used to have before now are going away. This initiative is tied to the President agenda in developing the human capacity and the NMA will continue to support this kind of initiative he said.
Students pursuing degree programs got four million Leones each, while students pursuing Diploma got three million each and two million Leones was given to students pursuing certificate and higher teachers’ certificate.