MTCA, NTB validate Hospitality Management Curriculum
The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) and its subvented agency, the National Tourist Board (NTB) with support from the Enhanced Integrated Framework Tier 2 under the Sustainable Tourism Development and Promotion Project validated the final draft national integrated tourism, hotel and hospitality management curriculum for the tourism sector. The event was held at the Family Kingdom Resort, Aberdeen in Freetown.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh pinpointed that several reforms have been undertaken to address the longstanding challenges faced by the sector and thereby enhancing its competitiveness within the African continent, saying that issues relating to creation of an enabling environment for the sector to thrive, development of sites, robust and aggressive marketing among others are being addressed.
He continued that in complementing President Bio’s human capital development initiative they have embarked in an effort to improve the human resource capacity of the sector. He said the recently concluded training needs assessment highlighted weakness in human resource capacity as one of the biggest challenges faced by the sector due to an acute human resource capacity limitation, hence they hired a consultant to develop an integrated curriculum for the sector which will be utilized by educational institutions thereby strengthening their capacity.
Articulating the rationale of the gathering, the General Manager of the National Tourist Board, Madam FatmataHamid Carew mentioned that despite the great opportunities in the sector, the sector continues to suffer from an acute human resource capacity limitation at all levels of the demand or service providers side, lack of highly qualified lecturers/trainers, weak contemporary tourism-related curriculum to inadequate modern training equipment which she said precipitated the need for the overhauling of the curriculum for the sector and the need to build the education infrastructure and capacity for the delivery of education in tourism and hospitality.
In her keynote address, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt intimated that lot has been done in putting the sector where it is today, and in order to actualize all these gains, the human resource capacity must be developed, as it also resonates with the mantra of President Bio’s human capital development drive. She maintained that the development of the human resource capacity of the sector is critical to the development of the sector, a reason she said they are providing a reference guide for the government of Sierra Leone through the Tertiary Education Commission for higher learning in tourism.
Dr. Pratt expressed her conviction that it was necessary to have a common template for tourism education in Sierra Leone. She thanked the EIF for their support in the development of the curriculum which she said will serve as a reference guide and a tool for tourism across the board. She added that they are working with the hotel association to ensure that the curriculum serves the short term courses and training needs in collaboration with existing institutions.
In his presentation of the curriculum, the Consultant, SylvanusBisodu Betts said they took two international universities in Kenya and New Zealand and two universities offering tourism in Sierra Leone as a case study for the formulation of the curriculum. He said after the completion of the courses, students will be able to understand the overall structure and operations of the tourism, hotel, hospitality industries in Sierra Leone and other parts of the world, under the roles and responsibilities of a hotelier among others.
The chairman of the National Tourist Board, President of the hotel association and representative from the Tertiary Education Commission all made valuable inputs towards the discourse.
Group presentations on Bachelor of Science and Certificate and Diploma programs and the unanimous validation of the document climaxed the occasion.
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