Sierra Leone launches free school education

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 August 2018:

Over 1.5 million school children are expected to benefit from the free quality school education initiative which starts at the school year in September.

This flagship initiative which will be launched at the Miata Conference Hall in Freetown today, Monday, 20th August, is part of the new Government’s initiative, under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio. It will ensure increased access to government-assisted schools for all children from pre-primary to senior secondary levels across the country.

With support from donor partners – including UK Aid, World Bank, Irish Aid, World Food Programme and UNICEF, the free education programme will be phased over five years and will waive the payment of tuition and admission fees.

The programme will also provide teaching and learning materials, with an initial emphasis on English language and Mathematics text books to all secondary schools in the country.

It will ensure that payment for public examination fees such as the National Primary School Examination (NPSE), Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and West Africa Senior Secondary School Examination (WASSCE) are waived.

“The waiver of fees for learning in any form will definitely ease the burden on parents and guardians, who are making a lot of sacrifices under extremely difficult economic conditions to see their children become educated,” said Alpha Timbo, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. “

“This initiative by our Government will no doubt increase educational outcomes; and human resource capital will be strengthened to meet the growing social and technological revolution in a globalized world,” he said.

Parents are being encouraged to provide uniforms and some text books for a start, and continue with their traditional role of home supervision, support and coaching to ensure they take maximum advantage of this opportunity.

“We are proud to be supporting the Government of Sierra Leone on this initiative,’ said Mary Hunt, Head of Office at DFID Sierra Leone.

‘I am really pleased to see the priority the Government is giving to ensuring all children –  girls, boys, those with disabilities –  throughout the country access quality education,” she said.

A telephone hotline (Number 4060 from any local network), is being set up to encourage pupils, parents and community stakeholders to report malpractices in schools and communities.

The District Deputy Directors of Education, Ward Education Committees and paramount chiefs will also conduct rigorous monitoring in their localities. (Photo: President of Sierra Leone – Julius Maada Bio).

“This is a laudable initiative by the Government of Sierra Leone and the commitment shown in increasing education budget from 12 to 21 per cent, will significantly increase access, improve quality and school completion in the coming years,” said Dr Hamid El-Bashir, UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone.

“UNICEF will continue to partner with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to ensure that this initiative yields the best results for children of Sierra Leone,” he said.

As children return to school in September 2018, it seems a brighter future awaits them.

12 Comments

  1. DaVoice,

    Using tired conspiracy theories to explain complex socio-economic issues is lazy and intellectually disingenuous.

  2. None of you are paying attention. You only heard FREE SCHOOL EDUCATION and starts leaping for joy. This is not Sierra Leone (S/L) launching free school education.

    Believe me, I would love to see S/L launching free school education, but what I would love more, is to see it instituted by S/L without any western influence.

    Listen, in order for S/L or any African nation to achieve sustainable development, it has to be powered from within. We have to snap out of the mindset of dependence upon other nations especially western nations/institutions to fuel our progress.

    If they spend one million in your country, ask yourself, how much are they getting in return? The problem with handouts or aids is, once they stop providing it, whatever progress achieved, will gradually start to fade and eventually vanish away.

    This is just another handout as always from the western powers. Yes, western powers, because these institutions or organizations ((UK Aid, World Bank, Irish Aid, World Food Programme and UNICEF) are all government agents set in place to monitor Africa.

    Now, the question we should be asking is what do they want in return because I do not believe for one bit that these western institutions are coming to spend their hard – earned money on poor Sierra Leonean children without getting something in return.

    But it is not always about what they are physically getting in return; you must also look at what they are getting in return psychologically and philosophically. Many are stuck in the matrix and may not understand what I am saying, but those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, can see what is happening in our communities today.

    Our value system/culture is being gradually eradicated through systematic westernization. I want to share in the joy of the free school education for our young ones but looking at the list of funders of the so called free school education, it raises my antenna. I am not trying to spoil anybody’s joy but a wise man once said, “It’s insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results”.

    Wake up Sierra Leone. Before you start jubilating for this free school education, look at the hand that is dealing the card and try to understand the game in play. Those institutions are the most dangerous parasitic (government controlled) institutions on earth; when they attach to you, they will not get off until you are destroyed or completely submissive to their control.

    Not that we do not already understand their control but I am just saying it is time to be wise. At the end of the day, you can build the most admirable house but if it is not built on a good (solid) foundation, it is simply a waste of time.

    • DaVoice,

      Are you one of those so-called anti-imperialists who are good at unearthing problems but poor at proffering solutions?

      Did the western nations you are alluding to write the SLPP manifesto where the free education initiative was clearly spelled out? Did these same western nations prepare President Bio’s first budget where education expenditure was increased from 12% to 21%?

      Lastly, are you suggesting that Sierra Leone and other African countries should never accept aid of any sort from western nations? Where were you when Ebola struck Sierra Leone? Why didn’t you use your INDEPENDENT SIERRA LEONEAN mindset to cure Ebola?

    • Binta Conteh,

      You talk about not offering a solution, you’re not willing to accept the problem, then how can you possibly accept the solution?

      Who do you think is responsible for the Ebola out break in S/L, oh, let me not forget Liberia too?
      Ok, let’s take a step back, who do you think is responsible for the Liberian and Sierra Leonean civil wars? And why is it that when the civil war broke out in Liberia, few years later the civil war broke out in Sierra Leone as well? Similarly, Ebola broke out in Sierra Leone, all of a sudden, it broke out in Liberia as well?

      To you these are probably just coincidences or simply two countries close to each other type deal, right? How about the other neighboring countries like Guinea and Ivory coast, why are they not being affected? I will tell you why, because Guinea and Ivory coast are predominantly French territories so they cannot cause havoc over there without the French government approval. Whereas Liberia and Sierra Leone are US and UK territories (if you are familiar with history, you’ll know that they are one people – US and UK).

      Know this,the economy of the western powers depend on Sierra Leone, Liberia and other African nations being kept at certain poverty level – destabilized to the point where they can come in under the pretext of administering humanitarian aid.

      But in actuality, they are there for mineral exploitation. I will say it again, the economy of America, Great Britain/UK and other western powers depend on African nations being kept at certain poverty level – destabilized to the point where they can come in under the pretext of administering humanitarian aids. But in actuality, they are there for mineral exploitation. This is why there’s always war, disease, hunger, government mismanagement etc…

      Make no mistake, they engineer these situations so that they can come in and exploit the mineral resources of our nations. A thief goes into a compound where there are dogs to steal. What do you do to prevent the dogs from attacking you or even making noise that could alert the home owner of the presence of an invader? Yes, you got it, you throw them a bone. And while they’re fighting over it, you go and handle your business.

      “Did the western nations you are alluding to write the SLPP manifesto where the free education initiative was clearly spelled out? Did these same western nations prepare President Bio’s first budget where education expenditure was increased from 12% to 21%?”

      Binta, sadly, they probably did all you have pointed out here which is why the government cannot execute any of those things without their backing. If you don’t trust me, each time the government announces another undertaking, if you could, find out where they’re getting the funding from. In other words, trace the money.

      Please, where do you think President Bio got the funding from to sponsor his campaign, huh?

      Try to understand, I did not say African nations should never accept aid from western nations. But if it was possible for us to never accept their aid, don’t you think that would be great?

      Binta, are you aware of the riches of Sierra Leone? If yes, with all of that, why are we always asking for handouts?

      Check this out: we live in a box: us, our government, and our leaders. And that box is controlled by an outside force just as the universe is controlled or governed by God who also lives outside of this universe. Yes, someone is playing God on us but you just don’t know it.

      To understand what’s happening inside the box, you need to be able to look outside or you will never be able to understand what’s happening. And you will keep making the same insane mistakes over and over, from one generation to the next forever.

      You see, I live in the belly of the beast and not just that, I have eyes that can see and ears that can hear.

      My sister, an old adage says, “make haste while the sun still shines”. If we dont wake up now and act quickly, if any after this one, I feel sorry for the next generation that will come after us.

      Believe me, I’m fighting this fight my own way. But its difficult when you have to fight the same people you think you are fighting for. And that’s what westerners – aka the white man, is looking to achieve. Once we are divided ideologically, philosophically, spiritually, and intellectually, then, they will be able to completely dominate us.

      We often alter the saying “United we stand, divided we fall”, but I doubt if we really understand what that means.

      Oh, if only we were wise and could understand…

  3. Education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world.

    God bless you His excellency for this great opportunity that you have planted in the lives of the children of Sierra Leone.

  4. It is a humble thanks to our Excellency The President Julius Maada Bio, for taking our educational sector to the apex form.

    May the Lord Almighty continue to direct you as you have the desire and willingness to work for the betterness of our beloved country – Mama Sierra Leone.

  5. Congratulation President Bio, we hope to see more development and success of this program. God bless you sir.

  6. Thank God for this great opportunity the future generation have received. Thanks to all those who contributed to this great gift. I am glad that Sierra Leone has finally got the opportunity to offer free education . I will continue to pray that God will guide and make this a lifetime gift for these children in Sierra Leone, and other parts of the world.

    • Excellent policy decision by the Bio government. I only hope it will be sustainable, properly managed in its implementation and that it will be what it is meant to be – free and quality education.

  7. This is a laudable achievement for President Bio’s government. Well done and bravo.
    Free education versus Mamamah airport. What a useless and utterly expensive venture Mamamah would have been.

    Thanks for establishing the hotline number. I hope parents, guardians and all and sundry will make full use of it, to report those who will want to continue taking fees from parents.

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