You may have missed it but the Sierra Leone education system has been modified from 6-3-3-4 to the new 6-3-4-4. Under the old system, students spent 6 years in primary school, 3 years in junior secondary, 3 years in senior secondary and 4 years in university. Under the new system, students will spend an extra 1 year in Senior Secondary School (SSS). So the question is, why was this change needed and how will this change help to prepare our next generation of students into college and or career ready students?
Most Sierra Leoneans agree that our education system has seen better days. We’ve gone from the top of West Africa’s education food chain to the bottom. An average student from our schools can not compete with an average students from Ghana on Nigeria under the same 6334 education system.
Several factors contribute to the plummeting of our education standards. For one education has not been enough of a priority for successive governments, and of course there was the disruption during the war years.
In order for us to build our economy, and promote development, we need to invest in our human capital by investing in education. We have to increase our literacy rates, train our citizens for employment opportunities in order to at least create access to prosperity for all.
At this point, I don’t believe that adding an extra year to the grades will improve education in any shape or form. What we need is true reform and a total overhaul of the education system. We need to put better infrastructure in place, adopt proven policies that have worked in other countries such as Ghana and the Gambia, train and equip teachers, focus on accountability from the administrators at the Ministry of Education, school level administrators, teachers, students and parents.
One size won’t fit all, but the leaders in Sierra Leone should be willing to take risks and reform our current system so that our children will be in a better position to compete with others in this global village. I wholeheartedly believe in the resilience of the Sierra Leonean people, and if we really prioritize education and demand the same from our leaders, we can indeed begin to turn the tide and build a quality education system that every Sierra Leonean can be proud of.