Abdulai Braima: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 April 2019:
Education, education, education – that was the theme of a meeting held at the Sierra Leone High Commission in London, UK last Thursday, 4th April 2019, as part of the ongoing work by the High Commission to establish a platform, through which Sierra Leoneans in the UK can come together to formulate and implement “Positive Programs for Progress” in the motherland – Sierra Leone.
Last Thursday’s event was a productive Diaspora meeting, which brought together members of Alumni organisations and associations of various schools in Sierra Leone, living here in the UK.
In view of the fact that there are many alumni groups registered in the UK, it was decided to schedule the meetings at intervals, to enable each group to be present at any of the set dates, by contacting the High Commission.
Last Thursday, the Sierra Leone High Commissioner – Mr Tamba Lamina met representatives of Prince of Wales, Sierra Leone Grammar School, Methodist Boys’ High School, Methodist Girls’ High School, Albert Academy, St. Joseph’s Convent Freetown, Harford School for Girls, St Helena, Centennial Bonthe, WAM Collegiate, Christ the King’s College and Murray Town School.
The meeting was chaired by the Deputy High Commissioner Mrs Agnes Dugba Macauley.
Mrs Macauley welcomed the representatives and thanked them for finding time after their long day at work to attend the meeting. She spoke about the commitment of President Julius Maada Bio and his team to improve the quality of education in Sierra Leone.
She emphasised that, resuscitating and revitalising education in Sierra Leone is not only a pivotal flagship project of the New Direction government, but a personal heartfelt goal of President Bio.
This view was echoed by High Commissioner Tamba John Sylvernus Lamina, who explained that the reason the Bio led government has put such high premium on education is because the President appreciates and fully embraces the fact that With Quality Education, “Sierra Leone would regain her former glory as the Athens of Africa and be on a better footing to compete favourably on the world stage.”
Discussions were frank and open, concerning the main challenges faced by various Alumni organisations, especially in relation to channelling assistance to their various schools in Sierra Leone.
Certain issues were flagged up as areas that need the collective attention of everyone involved in the educational sector. These include the school/student ratio, the current state of educational infrastructures and equipment, the culture of non-maintenance, poor sanitation, stagnating curricula, poor teacher training facilities, and more importantly – the need to motivate professionals abroad who would want to relocate to Sierra Leone to give back to the nation, the education and experience achieved in the Diaspora.
The need to improve accountability in schools was also highlighted as an area for attention.
The High Commissioner noted, with appreciation, that all the Alumni organisations have made tremendous contributions to their various schools in various capacities and he encouraged them to accelerate the process of contributing to the growth of the country’s education system.
Tamba Lamina said that the doors of the High Commission will always remain widely open for the exploration of bright initiatives in this direction, and he expressed hope that the positive engagements out here would soon start to bear the desired practical fruits inside Sierra Leone.
The Deputy High Commissioner – Mrs Macauley, carefully noted all those concerns and encouraged the groups to continue working in good faith; and said that these concerns will not simply be passed on to the relevant authorities in Sierra Leone but said they will be assiduously followed up.
Last Thursday’s meeting with the School alumni associations comes on the heels of an earlier meeting held with Sierra Leonean healthcare professionals based in the UK.
The goal of the Sierra Leone High Commission in the UK is to establish productive partnership with the Diaspora organisations in all sectors, so that they can work together for the greater good Sierra Leone and for the benefit of the people, in line with the vision of the New Direction Bio led government.
The meeting ended with a decision to communicate a date for a follow up engagement to discuss an implementation strategy.
With such positive interventions, the government’s mission to rescue the nation continues in high gear as the vision begins to be unfurled for the betterment of all.