On 23 March violence erupted between pupils of the Koidu Secondary School (KSS) and Islamic Secondary School Koidu (ISSK), leaving dozens of them injured.
Some of the pupils who spoke to Politico said they didn’t go to school because they didn’t know the ban imposed had been lifted.
One of them, Komba Mondeh, an SSS 3 pupil of ISSK, said when the ban was announced the Deputy Director of Education in Kono District, Agnes N’kanku Kamara, went on radio, but that she didn’t do same to announce the lifting of the ban.
The Education Ministry official had threatened arrest by the police of anyone who defied the order. This, apparently, has made pupils and their parents unsure of venturing out without proper confirmation.
“She should have gone to the radio again to make similar statement to lift the ban prior to the reopening of schools,” said Mondeh.
Deputy Director Kamara confirmed to Politico that the ministry had lifted the ban and said pupils were free to return to school.
“The ban was imposed on schools initially to discourage the pupils from further violence as their activities are unpredictable,” she said in an interview on the phone.
But Mohamed Ahmed Tamba Foday, Chairman of the Council of Principals in Kono District, who doubles as the principal of the ISSK, one of the schools that were involved in the bloody clashes, argued that the ban couldn’t necessarily have been responsible for the low turn. He said this had been a long time habit.
Officials and parents are concerned that the delay in returning to school will worsen the effect of an already tight school calendar.