Sierra Leone sets new school reopening date, Min of ED not ready

2
3534
Sierra Leone Methodist Girls High School
The Marching Band of Sierra Leone’s Methodist Girls High School

 

While students in ebola hit Liberia and Guinea have been back in school for over a month, plans to reopen schools in Sierra Leone on March 30 have been postponed because of a lack of preparedness, a government spokesman has said.

The Ministry of Education, and the National Ebola Response team have decided to wait until April 14 2015 to open schools which have remained closed throughout the 2014-2015 academic year.

In January when the now postponed date was set Alpha Kanu of the MOInfo said that the government had only raised $50 million of the $139 million needed to cover costs of reopening schools under its post ebola recovery plan.

A large sum of that budget was to pay for the decontamination of schools that had been used as ebola treatment centers, while water and sanitation works were desperately needed at the 2726 schools without toilets. There were 8150 schools in Sierra Leone at the end of the last school year and only 66% had functioning toilets.

Many parents had expressed concerns over sending their children to school in March,  even after the government announced that it would cover school fees, including external exam fees like BECE for all public school students. No word yet if the postponement of the school reopening is due to inadequate funding or just a general lack of preparedness.

There are 1.7 million students in Sierra Leone, the majority of them are in public schools.

 

  • Alimamy Gbashay Kamara
  • Alimamy Gbashay Kamara

    From the article just added to the discussion it is interesting to focus on some of the concerns of the Alumni of Yengema Seconday School. “…. It is reported that GoSL (through the World Bank) has decided to give to each school: Junior Secondary Schools (JSS): Le 45,000,000 (forty five million Leones, approx £7000), Senior Secondary Schools (SSS): Le94,000,000 (Ninety four million leones, approx £14,500)…” According to this article by Swit Salone, there are 8150 schools in the country, However the actual number of JSS and SSS schools were not really spelled out, versus the number of Primary schools. I am going to hazard a guess of 2,500 secondary schools. At a minimum of GBP 7,000 each, the ministry needs to disburse, GBP17.5mil. Where is that money coming from. Not so sure. However the advance supplying of GBP500 worth of cleaning materials, will be used as cover for claiming disbursements of GBP 7,000 to each school. The reality is that some of these schools do not exist, and the majority of schools will not receive any of these supplies, let alone monies. Yengema Secondary school is a well known institution, with inquisitive alumni/backers, and so will get some attention. The majority of schools will be short changed.