A commentary by Sullay Koroma
Schools opened in Sierra Leone on 17th September 2018.
The government of Sierra Leone says it is ready for the commencement and implementation of the free and quality package. The government is responsible for essential school materials and school fees as clearly pronounced by President Bio during the campaign period and in the SLPP manifesto.
International donor partners and other institutions have contributed immensely towards free quality education. Others have made pledges towards the free quality education programme.
However, the sustainability of the free quality education lies on the pupils, their parents or guardians, the teachers, and the key player the Government of Sierra Leone.
Government should now put in place monitoring mechanisms across the country as the average Sierra Leonean does not tend to value anything that is free.
During the late 70’s there were Supervisors of Schools country wide, but during the last ten or fifteen years, there is no proper monitoring of the school system. Nobody cares. The Sierra Leone Teachers Union is another dormant or sleeping organization which just cares about collecting union dues. That’s ridiculous.
Another key issue is the role of parents in sending their children to school. A check up system between the schools and the parents should be instituted to regulate the performance of pupils in schools. The free quality education in Sierra Leone cannot be sustainable if the pupils are not prepared to embrace this flagship project of President Bio.
Notwithstanding, the overall assurance of the project for its sustainability is government’s role in rebranding the teaching profession in Sierra Leone.
Government should revisit the Sierra Leone salary structures of teachers and the recently initiated teaching service commission should put all hands on deck to promote free quality education.
Most importantly law enforcement agencies like the police and civil society organizations should also embrace and come on board to complement President Bio’s laudable initiative.