Sierra Leone: 'Focus On Teachers Not As Strong As It Should Be'

- Chair of Teaching Service Commission

What is going on now in Sierra Leone, I am really truly disappointed that the focus on teachers is not as strong as it should be. Yet, we say the standard of education has fallen. Standard of education has fallen, don't we know why? Teachers are the first deliverers of quality education as they are in the classrooms. They face 50, 60, 70, 80 and 100 children sometime and we expect them to perform miracle, they will not, says Chairperson of the Teaching Service Commission, Dr. Staneala Beckley.

She shrugged off the much talked about poor performance of teachers as well as malpractices, noting that teachers have been out of the radar screen for a long time.

At the recently concluded bilateral budget discussions, Dr. Beckley said teachers constitute the largest workforce in the country and as such, if their house is not in order by focusing on them, taking into consideration their motivation and performance, then it is better to forget about it because they hold the key to quality education.

"Teachers form the key in everything we do to push education forward. We have to look at the structure and start reforming the teaching workforce. We really need a major operation in this country in the sector as far as teaching is concern," she noted.

While urging for a closer look at the role of teachers in the classroom by paying serious attention to what is happening to them, Dr. Beckley noted that much will be expected from teachers as they have a standard developed which would be used to assess them.

The TSC Chairperson stated that they are striving to be a centre of excellence in the management of teachers and place the country where it used to be before as the Athens of West Africa.

"While we pay attention to their conditions of service and make sure that they are well taken care off, at the same time, we expect more from them and they will be assessed to see whether they are performing or not. Don't be surprised that those who are not performing even after we have helped them to grow and develop, then perhaps they have no place in the profession," she maintained.

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