Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Text Size

FBC at a glance

Fourah Bay College was founded by the Church Missionary Society in 1827, for the purpose of training Africans as schoolmasters, catechists and clergymen. The establishment of Fourah Bay College intended, on the one hand ,to provide its pupils, the children of the freed slaves and liberated Africans with opportunities to obtain training in basic skills, needed to survive in their new environment, and on the other hand, to train those of its pupils who displayed the requisite aptitude as teachers and priests.

In 1876, the CMS succeeded in getting the College affiliated to Durham University, which meant that the students could sit for Durham's matriculation examinations and take Durham University degree examinations, although Durham had no control over the appointment of lectures and lecturing. The affiliation led to a revision of the courses include Latin, Greek, Hebrew,Arabic,History, Natural Science, French and German.


In 1938, the Colonial Government decided to review its relationship with the college and appointed a Commission to inquire into and report on its financial positions, status and aim. Apart from recommending that its course be modernised and diversified, it also recommended a more reliable method of funding which would ensure that the college would always be assured of funds. During the Second World War, the colonial government took over the college buildings as part of its war effort. The college was moved temporarily first to Cline Town and later to Mabang about forty miles away from Freetown. It was just at this time that the colonial administration decided to set up a Commission to investigate and report on higher education in West Africa.

In May 1950, by an ordinance of the Government of Sierra Leone, a new Council was established with a representative each from all sections of the community, including the missionary societies, which supported college and government. In 1954, the college was visited by a Commission under the Chairmanship of Mr.J.S. (later Lord) Fulton. This Commission was appointed by the governor to make recommendations inter alia on a long-term policy for Fourah Bay college. As a result of that Commission, the college embarked on a phase of development for the institution of degree courses in science and Diploma courses already established in Arts and Economic Studies.

Notwithstanding these developments the college continued its work in Theology, Education and Extra-Mural Studies. By the 1958/59 session, there was encouraging progress, at least for a time, in Applied Science. A department of Engineering Technology was started and engineering building and workshop were erected and equipped and a three year diploma course was instituted on a sandwich basis the second year being devoted to practical experience. Students awarded the diploma with sufficiently high marks were admissible, with with certain exceptions to the B.Sc degree course in Applied Science of Newcastle.

Early in 1958, expanding University work threatened to outstrip accommodation unless the non-graduate teacher training commitment was discontinued.In February 1958,the government was convinced that the separation of its training from FBC was inevitable and in November promised to effect the transfer to a separate teacher training college before September 1959.

FBC then moved towards University status and in January 1965, a Royal Charter constituting Fourah bay College as the University College of Sierra Leone was granted. The affiliation with the University of Durham continued and degree in Arts, Science, Economic Studies, and Postgraduate Diploma in Theology and Education were awarded by the University to successful candidates from FBC. The college awarded its own Diploma in Engineering and License in Divinity. As from the 1965/66 session, courses leading to a degree in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering were started. An undergraduate diploma course in Aquatic Biology and Fisheries was introduced in October 1971.

As from 1st September 1966, the college became a constituent college of the university of Sierra Leone which itself was constituted under the University of Sierra Leone Act 1967.Students, however, who had earlier matriculated in the University of Durham, continued pursuing courses of the University of Durham.

In 1972, a new act ‘The University of Sierra Leone Act’ was passed in parliament. This established a unitary system embracing Fourah Bay College, Njala University College and one or two other smaller colleges. Each college though has a large measure of autonomy.

Fourah Bay College since its foundation, has catered for and continues to cater for Sierra Leonean and non-Sierra Leonean students from the entire continent of Africa and beyond.

Student enrollment for 1998/99 session is about 2000 in four faculties and five institutes.

The faculties and institutes are as follows:

  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences
  • Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
  • Institute of Adult Education and Extra-Mural Studies
  • Institute of African Studies
  • Institute of marine Biology and Oceanography
  • Institute of Population Studies
  • Institute of Library and Archive Studies and Mass Communications

Growth in Student Enrollment

In the last ten years, students enrollment has increased from about 1000 to its present 1800. Academic staff (faculty) numbers have also increased over the same period. From recent projecftions made, based on the current demand for tertiary education, student enrollment is expected to reach about 3000 by the middle of the next decade.

The present facilities, including infrastructure, were designed for a student population of about 700. With full time, enrollment now 1800, all facilities (academic and physical) are overstretched. Expansion of to satisfy present needs and t5he expected demand for access into the next decade, is absolutely essential, if the college is to cater adequately for the succeeding generations.

Programme Restructuring

Many programmes are being restructured and new programmes introduced in response to the changing market requirements and to enhance relevance. This is particularly so in the faculties of Pure and Applied Sciences, Engineering and Social Sciences.

Review of Teaching and Learning Methods

The College in a bid to reduce wastage, enhance relevance and provide greater flexibility is introducing the ‘modular’ system in all faculties and institutes.

The college has introduced the new information technology (internet etc) and plans to make this available to the entire College community within the next five years.

Summary of Objectives and Cost Investment Projects of the college

Short-term objectives to be achieved by year 2003