World Bank approves $50 million grant to improve quality of  education in Sierra Leone 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 June 2020:

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved a $50 million grant to support the Government of Sierra Leone’s flagship program for Free Quality School Education launched in 2018.

According to the World Bank, the Free Education Project will support some initial COVID-19 response activities, including provision of distance learning and communication campaigns on prevention.

Sierra Leone has made significant gains in school enrolment, but education outcomes and skills acquisition are among the lowest in Africa.

The education sector also faces issues of deep inequities in access, weak governance, and inefficient public spending and management.

The project will help address these challenges, as well as strengthen existing mechanisms for reporting violence in schools, including sexual and gender-based violence through effective sensitization and prevention measures.

World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone – Gayle Martin, said: “This financing will support the government’s commitment toward achieving a more inclusive approach to quality education, increasing the retention of girls, especially in secondary school, and improving the learning environment for children with disabilities.

“The project focuses on strengthening the education system in areas of policy, governance, accountability, and administration as part of the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Framework for Sierra Leone.”

Education, and human capital more generally, is one of the Government’s national priorities as articulated in the Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023.

The Government launched the Free Quality School Education Program to ensure free education for all basic and senior secondary students in the country.

“This project is well aligned with the Government’s and the World Bank Group’s priorities, focusing on addressing education sector challenges and transforming the education system over the long term for the children of Sierra Leone. It emphasizes on the importance of investing in human development as well as decentralizing delivery of basic education services,” said Mari Shojo, World Bank Senior Education Specialist and Task Team Leader.

Specifically, the project will finance the construction of approximately 510 furnished classrooms to meet the immediate infrastructure needs in basic education and provide community-managed and performance-based grants to primary schools for improved school performance and accountability.

It is expected to benefit 2.4 million students, 75,000 teachers and members of School Management Committees and Board of Governors in 9,300 primary and secondary schools.

Over the medium term, it will support communities and local stakeholders in building their capacity and promoting ownership and accountability.

13 Comments

  1. Brother Young4na, but are these grants really free of charge? It is likely that they are free in the sense that the country is not required to pay them back in the form that they were received, but I doubt that these western institutions are crediting us without any sort of stipulated conditions being attached. Ever wonder why some of our leaders do the most outlandish things, yet there is never a rational explanation as to why do would such things? For instance, there was a land grab dispute during EBK’s tenure, where a land that was designated for school purposes was seized by the government because the Chinese wanted this particular land. If I am not mistaken, the government ended up tearing down the school that was already on the land and accommodated the land to the Chinese.

    Could it be that the supposedly ‘free money’ that we have been getting from the Chinese was reason enough for the government to put those kids out of school? Mr. Fohna, help me reason why would our government project itself in such a despicable manner. Let’s go beyond what we have been publicly told, time and again, about free money that we receive from foreign institution. By doing so we can truly make sense out of the situation. Even India, a third nation, with a population that is dealing with a similar socioeconomic strain as Africa, is supposedly giving us free money. It’s quite laughable when you really think about it.

    There is also a video on youtube of Dr. Yumkella explaining that the country was basically coerced by one of the Bretton Woods institutions into given up its oil refinery, supposedly in exchange for ‘free money.’

    These grants are as free as Bill Gates’s splurging of wealth, under the guise of a philanthropic gesture, but his underlying motive for doing so is to accomplish inoculating certain populations.

  2. This here is point blank Mr. kalokoh, let us assume – if you are part of the administration in the current ruling government, you would be a panhandler also because here is a country that has been destroyed by this so-called pass leaders. I call them so-called pass leader, because they are still in the present, trying to cause more destruction. Moreover, so many ignorant citizens who supported them to power are the same fools today in the white man’s land, looking for better living.

    Today the country is broken beyond repair. So what you think? Do you think the country can be fixed by an administration which consists of a group of people who are already broke? Some of the current government members were just like you in the white man’s country, taking advantage of the benefits which the Whites and blacks work so hard for it. It also consists of brothers and sisters who were in Sierra Leone, whose survival was one way or the other, depends on the west and the Chinese. So please next time when you are criticizing the new Administration/New Direction make sure you include each and every Sierra Leonean, because as citizens of Sierra Leone, we also add up to the downfall of this country, which we claim that we love. Please let us judge and criticize those who lead us wrongly in the past not the present. Let us encourage the present to stay on their lane and judge them after.

  3. I hope that all those who are currently singing songs of praise for such money, will not come back here on this forum in the next 3 years to defend the indefensible, when the dust would have settled down. This is not new, as we all know. Sierra Leone governments past and present has always been receiving grants from donor nations to improve the level of our educational sector, which was once the Athens of West Africa. Nothing has ever changed or was done. Here we are again with another episode of “Yay we got this” yet we all are so quick to grade an act that has not yet even started let alone done. My advice: Wait and see. Dont be too quick to praise-sing or judge!…Ay-yay!!

  4. I see so many are elated that we’re accumulating debt as if there is no tomorrow. Is this what we really want for the land and the people that we claim to love oh so heartedly? Do we ever sit and ponder on the fact that these are debts that have to be payed back – one way or the other? Who do we think will foot these bills when the time is due, our children? Do we not empathize with them while we are still alive kicking?

    Oh, I see, the elation for basically perpetuating the very system that has kept us in diabolical bondage for centuries must be based on the mantra that ‘we only have one life to live, so let’s live’? Is this what we’re doing? I could be preaching; however, I can only imagine that that is what the slave catchers and their overseers were thinking when the Europeans stepped foot on the continent and promised them manna in exchange for black bodies. I can also imagine that physical colonialism was more so the same level of thinking from those who were complicit with the colonizers. None of which benefited us in anyway possible.

    Indeed, we’re celebrating the continuation of a system that has devastated the African family structure – left it scattered everywhere else in the world except Africa, and those who are still on the continent wish there was a way out. They’re always in search of he slightest chance of escaping their deplorable condition for a greener pasture. It’s rather disappointing.

    Here is an overview of why all of a sudden there are plethora of loans/aid coming our way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFiAfPoCq2E

    • Thanks Mahmoud Kalokoh for your very important link. Every time you see our little showman he is glitted in new designer clothing. And the only time you see a smile on the face of this reclusive, extravagant and reckless-spending President is when there is a disbursement of millions of dollars from the IMF or World Bank (or even India). These institutions – IMF and World Bank – indirectly aided and abetted his inception to power.

      Now, they are sucking him gradually to plunge the country into a deep hole. Has he ever told the nation the debts he has already accumulated; or how this money has been used in priority projects? What about the alleged 5-star hotel in The Gambia, which is up and running within a space of two years of his presidency? Sierra Leone is facing a daunting future in a couple of years, or so … Seriously.

    • My brother Mr. Kalokoh, your sentiment in regards to the rise of accumulate debt in our nation is well noted and understood; however, we are celebrating these particular funds simply because of they are grants. In other words, this is not a loan but free money given to our nation to improve our dying educational sector.

    • Mahmoud Kalokoh,

      It is unfortunate that in your characteristic haste to attack anything that the SLPP government does, you do not have the mental courage to grasp the distinction between a grant and a loan.

      A grant is a sum of money given to a government, institution or person by a government, institution, or person for a particular purpose. It is not paid back. Conversely, a debt is money borrowed by one party from another party under the condition that it must be paid back later, usually with interest. So, what this means is that since the $50 million given to the Sierra Leone government by the World Bank is a grant, Sierra Leone will not have to pay this money back to the World Bank.

      Also, you may have all the negative perceptions of debt, but it is instructive that debt is not always bad. When used properly, in the short-run, debt provides funds for investment purposes, which in turn leads to economic growth. Moreover, debt provides funds for infrastructural development, improvement of education and job training and by extension, improvements in the standard of living of a people. When the standard of living of a people improve, they spend more and more spending leads to more growth. It is sad that APC folks of your ilk have been so battered and bruised by the bad governance unleashed by the light-fingered and rapacious APC that you have no trust in governments. Well, my advice to you brother is to chill and enjoy the ride with the SLPP government. Sierra Leone will bounce back and prosper.

  5. I am delighted to learn that the World Bank has approved USD50m grant to improve quality of education in Sierra Leone with 510 furnished classrooms. I hope and pray this grant will be spent prudently and cost-effectively. These children are the future leaders of Sierra Leone.

  6. Wonderful news for our educational sector. 50 million dollars is definitely a colossal amount of money that could make a huge difference in providing the lacking educational accessories, that are earnestly needed across our dilapidated educational infrastructure. My prayer is that, the ever hungry, ill-gotten money sucking vampires who could not resist the temptation of stealing, will spare these funds and allow my hero, one of the most gifted young Sierra Leonean, the current education minister, Dr. David Sengeh, to exhibit his magic touch in turning around our abysmal academic indicators.

  7. It will help if the government through the ministry of education can put the money in to good use. But I am not holding my breath. This money will go to waste and it will not change the quality of education for school children. Visiting my old school recently in Kabala, I noticed how the school buildings have deteriorated since I left all those years ago. Everything, seemed to be falling apart. If the school buildings are not fit for purpose, I wonder what incentives are there for students to pursue their education. Some of this students comes from very poor, overcrowded homes. At least when they come to school, they should do so with the knowledge that they are spending their day in a clean and inviting environment.

    We used to have an emergency power generator, but all that is left of it, is a skeleton of itself. I spoke to the principal of the school, and he told me how hard it has become even to educate the children for their own good. Discipline has gone out the window, since the abolition of corporal punishment. I was never in favour of corporal punishment and thank God it was abolished. We need to find a way to sanction unruly students, since they are a distraction to others. I asked the principal of my old school, about the police presence in the school. He said it is now a routine thing for him and his overworked teachers. He said the police are here to deal with an unruly student. By the way he sounded, not for the first time.

  8. Are our kids going to get the same education that the pan handlers who occupy our governing body obtained during their upbringing? If so, then it is safe to deduce that the education is based on enhancing our children’s pan handling ability for the mere purpose of carrying on the tradition. It has to be because due to past records, I can’t seem to see it play out any other way, as Africa’s educational system has produced some of the finest pan handlers ever known to man.

    Historically denoting, our educated class has adamantly leant towards ‘free money’ to address core issues that we as a people have always been faced with, but the irony with is that, most of the issues that are aimed to eradicate from these free lunches end up being the same issues that negatively affect us the most… I seriously don’t think life is supposed to be this hard; however, I have been proven time and again that it is in fact supposed to be this extreme. We as a people have some real soul-searching to do.

  9. This is wonderful news for the new direction government and the people of Sierra Leone. I hope the people of our nation will grab and continue to make use of this opportunity, which will eventually transform our people within the next decade.

  10. Thanks To World Bank. A Great Step for The cureent Government of Sierra Leone Through The Two Ministry of Education Sectors To Develop A Policy Framework for Computer Science Education in All Teacher Training Colleges of Sierra Leone. This will pave A Final Pathway for The Integration of ICT Education in all Primary and Secondary Schools Learning Systems in Sierra Leone (Courtesy of Wangoh Dynamics Technologies, Inc – USA)

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