Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 June 2022:
Sierra Leone’s free quality education programme could get a boost with support from the Qatari Education Above All (EAA) Foundation. Speaking to Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio in Doha, Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation, Fahad Al-Sulaiti, said that at least 45,000 out-of-school children in Sierra Leone will benefit from the EAA.
He stated that the aim of the zero out-of-school programme – their flagship programme, is to enrol children back to school and remove barriers that keep them out of school.
A board member of the Qatar Foundation, Dr Mazen Jassim Jaidah, spoke about the work of the Foundation in promoting education, research and innovation. “We are here to support you, your Excellency, with the great work you do in Sierra Leone,” he assured.
President Bio said that the out-of-school children programme is very much aligned with his vision to increase access to education for children through the free quality education programme.
“While we offer free quality education, we also need to cater for the Out-Of-School Children,” the President said.
He spoke about the various components of the Free Quality Education Programme, including school feeding, provision of school bus services, payment of transitional examination fees, provision of core textbooks, teaching and learning materials.
The President also spoke about the National Policy on Radical Inclusion in Schools, the first attempt by any Government in Sierra Leone to provide a roadmap for the day-to-day operations of schools and the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education to ensure inclusion and positive experience for all students regardless of their status in society.
The president’s wife – Madam Fatima Bio spoke about her personal project – the “Hands Off Our Girls” and “Sanitary Pad Distribution” which is aimed at protecting girls and preventing them from dropping out of school.
The EAA works to ensure equal access to education and to harness the power of quality education for positive, sustainable, and inclusive change. EAA is the brainchild of the founder, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the wife of the former Head of State of Qatar, and a long-time advocate for education.