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On Tuesday 15th October 2019, a substantial number of students who have been enrolled into various courses at the Armed Forces Technical and Education College (AFTEC) gathered at the college's Main Hall at Wilberforce Barracks to mark the institution's second orientation ceremony. The AFTEC is an institution that has a very long history with impeccable records to its name since inception from colonial days to now. The restructuring of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces ushered in the establishment of the Armed Forces Educational Centre (AFEC) in 2003, thereby changing from its former Army Education Service (AES). Army Education Service (AES) was responsible for building the capacity of Junior members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces (RSLMF) on the educational front. The AES was established by the then Governor of the Colony of Sierra Leone Sir Charles King Harman on 26th June 1902. A period of transforming 600 Sierra Leoneans Frontier Force into the first Sierra Leone Battalion of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF).

Furthermore, the need to acquire literacy and numeracy skills including Oral Communication skills in English were priorities for illiterate local troops. The first West African Army school was set up in Yabba in Lagos State and was later moved to Accra, Ghana's capital. By the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Colonial Masters thought it necessary to establish an independent centre for both Sierra Leone and the Gambia. The ultimate aim was to train instructors to teach illiterate (British) West African soldiers Basic English Language, particularly spoken English as well as simple arithmetic and skills that would facilitate the efficient execution of their military duties. The Post-war restructuring process led to the establishment of AFEC with the mandate to train an integrated military force comprising members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Civil Defense Forces (CDF) the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) by then to provide minimum levels of military education. Adult Literacy and Civic Education classes were among the major activities implemented to orientate members of the integrated Armed Forces. The AES Unit had provided such services to members of the RSLAF until recently when the AFTEC was established. The establishment of AFTEC was a timely decision by the Ministry of Defence to build the technical capacity of military personnel. Again, to prepare a platform for the upgrading of members of the forces and create the appropriate conditions by which military and civilian personnel can be self-reliant during active and after service.

In his welcome address, the Director of Studies at the Armed Forces Technical and Education College, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bockarie expressed delight for the presence of all to grace the Second Orientation Ceremony of the institution. He advised students to take their academic work very serious, participate in class activities, be confident and hard working. He implores the Ministry of Tertiary and Higher Education with commercial institutions to upgrade the institution and match global trajectory. Additionally, Colonel Paul Koroma, Director of Defence Training and Doctrine thanked all those who in diverse ways contributed immensely to the development of the institution. He clearly stated that, civilian students should not be intimidated by military uniforms, however they are covered by military codes, practices and regulations of the college.

Moreover, Dr Dalton Ekudayor Gilpin Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB) enlightened freshmen and women with a pool of entrepreneurship ideas and skills. He encouraged them to focus and work hard to earn their certificates and diplomas. He further explains the significance of middle level manpower skills that, “It is a global trajectory that young men and women in Sierra Leone embrace,” he added. Also, the Director of Technical and Vocational Education Training, Dr Victor Massaquoi who was the Guest of Honour said he was pleased to join the students in their orientation ceremony of over 150 young men and women who have commenced a journey that is challenging and profitable skills development for certificates and diplomas in diverse technical disciplines. He appreciated them for the zest to acquire demand-driven technical education that would do three key things for them and the country:

1. Improve their social and economic status
2. Improve communities and national economies and
3. Reduce social deviance and crime rate.

AFTEC offers courses at the following level:
1. National Vocational Basic Certificate (NVBC)
2. National Vocational Certificate (NVC)
3. National Technician Certificate (NTC)

Below are courses that reflect the aforementioned course levels:
1. Tailoring
2. Automobile Engineering
3. Electrical and Electronics Engineering
4. Building Technology
5. Catering
6. Agricultural Science
7. Metal Works
8. Refrigeration and Cooling System
9. Computer Science
10. Business Administration
11. Procurement and Logistics.

For information about MoD/RSLAF, visit the website at Furthermore for any media query, please contact the following.)

1. Brigadier General Alhassan Bangura
Defence Spokesman/Assistant Chief of Defence Staff, Defence Public Relations and Information

2. Group Captain John Gbondo
Director, Defence Public Relations and Information
Phone/WhatsApp: +232 76 750 557

3. lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim Bangura
Staff Officer Grade 1, Defence Public Relations and Information
Phone/WhatsApp: +232 78 252 625

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