Leadership of Sierra Leone’s Teaching Service Commission embroils in disgraceful controversy

Dr. Doma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 May 2024:

The recent suspension of six principals from top grade A schools in Freetown has sparked considerable concern regarding the integrity of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC). Parents from these affected schools have voiced reservations about the lack of due process, and for valid reasons.

The timing of the suspensions, amidst the busy period of WASSCE exams, raises questions about the TSC’s intentions. Such actions risk disrupting the smooth functioning of schools and potentially affecting their performance in Freetown.

Reports indicate that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) found no financial wrongdoing by any of the suspended principals; they were only found to have breached agreed intake procedure for which there is no defined guidelines from the ministry nor the TSC. Instead however, influential figures within the TSC and Ministry of Education seem to have manipulated the process, with the suspension appearing more like a witch-hunt rather than address genuine concerns.

Furthermore, the selective investigation targeting only Freetown’s grade A schools, while similar issues exist nationwide, suggests a biased agenda. Is this an effort to unfairly target certain regions, particularly the Northwest?

The situation highlights a power struggle between the Ministry of Education and the TSC, raising questions about who truly oversees school administration. Is the TSC overstepping its bounds, or is this a move by its leader, Lance Kelfala, akin to political manoeuvring, reminiscent of Putin’s tactics?

The Conference of Principals, representing current and retired school principals nationwide, has condemned the process, with none of the conference principals designated as replacements cooperating. This lack of support underscores the discontent within the education sector.

The suspension of experienced educators like Mr. Wyse SSS principal St. Edwards Secondary School, credited for significant contributions to education, without due process or consideration, reflects poorly on the TSC’s gratitude and respect for dedicated professionals.

Additionally, a two-month suspension without pay for these six individuals among thousands of principals seems excessively punitive.

Recent revelations indicate Kelfala’s dubious efforts to extend suspensions for unrelated issues, such as the omission of candidates from the WASSCE 2024 exams. Such actions reek of corruption and deceit, eroding trust in the TSC’s leadership.

A member of the council of principals, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the situation as “unjust and harsh.”

In upcoming editions, we will shed light on Kelfala’s questionable tactics, including demotions and suspensions, aimed at instilling fear among the Commission and Ministry of Education staff. His self-proclaimed immunity, allegedly based on past support for President Bio, reveals a troubling dynamic within the education system.

In a country like Sierra Leone, justice must be impartial, without fear or favour.  The principles of fairness and transparency must prevail, especially within institutions entrusted with shaping the future of our nation.


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