Salone News

Education service delivery beyond where the roads end

1 November 2020 at 17:16 | 973 views

By Dr. David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Sierra Leone

We are on the last leg of my nationwide district tour and community engagement.

Today took us to Falaba- a district low on nearly all development indices but one that is rich in culture, music and powerful women community leaders. Here, there are deplorable roads that require passengers to descend (now I understand how and why some exam centers didn’t receive materials in time). In some areas, the roads are not motorable but there we still went.

Firstly, when the people of Falaba Town and it’s nearby chiefdoms sent our government messages (through the VP, the MPs and other stakeholders), they asked for examination centers for their children. As a #KombraGovernment, we listened to them and we honored their request for all transition exams. The chiefs and everyone couldn’t stop thanking Government for transforming their community through such a gesture from my Ministry. This is what should happen when Government works for its people. We make promises, you vote for us, we win, you remind us of our promises, we do them, and then you vote for us again.

Quality education has been improving the last two years as the stakeholders reported. I met Gulu- the girl child who scored the highest NPSE marks in the entire district in this 2020 exams.

Secondly, everyone in the district is clear on their priorities for education. All 10+ chiefs, the Paramount Chief from Sinkunia, parents, pupils, etc all want Falaba to be known for its outputs in education and I’ll ensure I support them. I promised the DD a vehicle and will prioritise the district for placement of supervisors of schools. If you are from Falaba, your people need you to return and teach your brothers and sisters. We recently established new JSS schools in 16 chiefdoms that didnt have any. We advertised for teachers but they dont want to go to remote areas.

Finally, the effects of President Bio’s School Feeding Program as part of FQSE was very apparent. Every testimony from kids, parents, teachers, cooks, etc point to how their lives have been transformed from school meals. Enrollment, Completion and Transition metrics have all increased through FQSE. Next time someone implies we have reduced quality in education, please ask them to show you the metrics and data they are using and compare across 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. There’s hardly a metric for which we don’t have a positive effect in general. And the communities here are fully in support of and contribute to the success. For example, families here pay SLL 5,000 ($0.50) every term (3 months) so their children can eat 5 meals a week. They are happy to do this.

We invited our development partners CRS and Plan International to join us on our Falaba and Koinadugu legs because of the tremendous work they do here. CRS is a household name in Falaba and Koinadugu. We thank Paul and his team.

I also had the distinct pleasure of hosting and being guest to Mr. Amara Kallon- Deputy Minister of Public and Political Affairs. He and his brother Umaru Napoleon Koroma- Deputy Minister of Justice, who both hail from here, are complementing Govt efforts greatly in Education. Mr. Kallon served in the capacities of teacher, facilitator, panelist and my guide. We all enjoyed the townhall and learned plenty.

I think we’ll sleep soundly after spending some 6 hours on these (non) roads crossing streams that separate villages and hills.