He went on to say that the MBSSE started the distribution exercise all over the country including the Western Area. He said the books are by printed by term. He said: “as I speak, although the first term is already ended, yet we still distributed the first term textbooks to the pupils and we have supplied these first term textbooks to almost all the district schools and distribution of second term textbooks is ongoing.”
On the issue about some schools complaining particularly the Freetown Secondary School for Girls (FSSG) and a few others that they are yet to benefit from the FQE free core textbooks, Mr. Sowa said: “I am surprised to hear this because even today, I received a positive report about the distribution exercise from the Western Area Coordinator. Of course, there were some gaps because there was a difference in the enrollment data the distributors were initially given. They said the data they had was the one they collected from the Statistics Sierra Leone national census data. But that census was based on the 2017/2018 school year because when we checked in June last year, those were the figures they were given but we expected that this data should have been updated by the school authorities. And so we asked that the school authorities update and document the data they have to reflect the actual number of pupils on roll currently; as we have a buffer supply of FQE textbooks and once we receive the number of additional pupils not originally captured in that initial data, we shall go to our buffer supply and supply the children that missed out.”
According to Mr. Sowa, in the Western Area there were some mistakes initially. “Some private schools were supplied that were not on our data base and therefore were not supposed to be supplied with the FQE core textbooks. But we have retrieve these books and have ensured that all government and government-assisted schools are supplied.” He added that as a ministry, “we want to tell all Sierra Leoneans that the President, Julius Maada Bio had promised textbooks for each and every pupil in government and government-assisted schools. And truthfully, I am reassuring parents that pupils in government and government-assisted schools are all entitled and will get the textbooks as promised by the president.”
He added that since the distribution started, there were challenges and that sometimes to reach some areas was really difficult “but we managed as best as possible.” He maintained that all throughout last week, they were out monitoring the situation together with some civil society organizations and the press. “For now, we do not think any misdemeanor has taken place with regard the distribution of the FQE textbooks. And we are determined to see that the process is transparent and thorough,” Mr. Sowa told AYV Newspaper.