By Elizabeth Campbell (Nee Allie Blango)
Before Dr. Julius Maada Bio became the standard Presidential candidate for the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) for the second time ahead of the 2018 Parliamentary and Presidential elections, the President presented his ‘New Direction’ manifesto to the people of Sierra Leone, Portloko district, where he promised the free quality education for all Sierra Leoneans.
To start with, President Bio allocated 21% of the country’s national budget in 2019 towards the Free Quality Education; the Bio’s Administration is on records to prioritize education across the country which has encouraged more children to enroll in primary schools.
Sampling the views of parents and guardians across the country on the effects of the free quality education before the Convid19; they expressed delights appreciation to the President for such a wonderful and excellent decision in offering their child/ward in school.
“Some of our children have being dropout for years,” they confessed,”
“The introduction of the Free Quality Education has brought a sigh of relief to us; our children can attend school without paying dines.”
It could be
recalled that President Julius Maada Bio launched the Free Quality Education in
August 2018 to better the lives of Sierra Leoneans and enrich the human
resource capacity of the country.
Keeping to his words, the New Direction Government recently increased 30% salaries for teachers; a decision which resonates the impeccable character of the President.
It could be also recalled that 1,400 teachers who were without pin-code have been approved to enhance and augment the process as some of these teachers have worked for decades in the classrooms without pin-code which automatically was having serious effects in the educational process in the past.
To further strengthen the staff capacity in schools across the country, government re-assessed about 1,900 to get commensurate salaries alongside their trained and qualified compatriots; a decision which was also a hindrance in the past to so many teachers.
The hue and cry from teachers across the country in the past years complaining the Education Ministry for the slackness and carelessness to upgrade their salaries from one point to another was also a negative effect in the classrooms.
The government has taken strides to recruit an additional 3,000 and more to reach the 5,000 threshold by the close of 2020, and provide university education for the children of teachers who have been in the service for 10 years.
In a bid to provide a conducive learning environment, the government of President Bio has approved thousands of government and government assisted schools and provided learning and teaching materials amounting to 26million textbooks in line with his promise.
The newly buses provided by the government to augment school going children to access transportation especially in the morning hours was also a thinkable decision from the government point of view.
To also transform the free quality education into a sustainable national programme, the government has planned to provide Internet education for 500 schools across the country, had it not been for the outbreak of Covid19 pandemic internet education should have being part and parcel of our educational system for the pupils of these schools.
Today, Sierra Leone continues to enjoy the transformation in the education sector as number of schools and enrolment of pupils continues to sower day-by-day.
Sierra Leone is one of the countries that have taken stringent measure to attain the sustainable development goals in the field of education. The country under President Bio has seen need to prioritize education in a bid to improve on the country’s human resource development.
Just in two years, President Bio has almost succeeded in stabilizing the education sector from root bottom to the height her past glory of being the Athens of Africa.
Even though President Bio has almost nearly completed the race, the bug stops at many other challenges that are stifling the journeying to completion, among these include the garnering of capital resources, timely delivery of school materials and corrupt practices among officials in the sector.
This is the more reasoning many Sierra Leoneans are celebrating President Bio for delivering his promise on education, as many parents have expressed satisfaction over the performance of their children at home and even in public examinations, more so when the ACC has applied efforts to nip examination malpractice in the bud.