6 February 2019

Sierra Leone: Free Quality Education

Principal of the A.D. Wurie Secondary School at Lunsar, Ibrahim Tarawallie, has disclosed to Concord Times that the school has received supply of textbooks for both first and second term, but that they were yet to receive subvention for second term.

The free quality education programme, which was launched by President Julius Maada Bio, started officially on 17 September 2018.

During the launch of the programme, President Bio promised that his government would cover the expenses for tuition, providing textbooks, books, pens and pencils, sports equipment, rehabilitation of schools, provision of furniture, and the commencement of the school feeding programme in government and government assisted schools, while encouraging parents, guardians and teachers to show commitment to the education of their children.

According to Principal Tarawallie, who was speaking to this medium last Thursday (31st January, 2019) in his office at Lunsar, the free quality education has significantly led to the increase in the enrollment of pupils in the school for this academic year.

"On Monday, 28th January, 2019, we received textbooks for the major subjects of English and Mathematics. During the first term of the school calendar, we also received exercise books, which we distributed to all the pupils," he said.

He said they have constructed two new buildings with three classrooms each to accommodate the influx of pupils, who wanted to benefit from the direly needed free quality education, and thanked the government for such provisions.

"Despite the influx of pupils, we have strictly followed the policy of 50-pupils per classroom. We don't allow overcrowding in our classrooms because we want pupils to take-in what they are taught. During the re-opening of schools in September, there was a mad rush by parents, who wanted their kids to benefit from this national programme, but we had to put a stop to admission in order to accommodate the kids we could cater for," he noted.

Principal Tarawallie said the entire school, which comprises both junior and secondary school, runs on a one-shift system, and that they have enough time to teach the pupils, as well as enough time for teachers to complete the school syllabus per academic year.

He, however, disclosed that teachers in his school were complaining about poor conditions of service, but noted that having convinced them to patiently wait on the government to address their complaints; they have now started effective teaching.

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