Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education, Alpha Timbo has admitted that the implementation of the Free Quality Education is facing some challenges, which his ministry is trying to address.
He said despite the fact that President Bio while launching the Free Quality Education assured that in the first phase, exercise books, few core text books and learning materials will be provided; they faced some challenges in the distribution of such supplies to various parts of the country.
The minister disclosed that with the hope of overcoming some of those unforeseen challenges; that was why they worked with local councils nationwide to help them with the supply and distributions of exercise books, teaching and learning materials.
He expressed hope that such challenges, as time goes by will be addressed as the implementation of the Free Quality Education program is virtually new in the country and getting it up and running to perfection will be a matter of time.
With regards to concerns raised by some parents over the supply of exercise books, Timbo assured that enough books have been supplied to various schools nationwide through local councils.
He however stressed that; at the moment the core text books promised to be supplied has not yet been ready because of the rigorous process of going through procurement procedures as stipulated by law.
On the issue of furniture supply to schools, he assured that the Ministry of Finance has disbursed funds towards that direction and pretty soon that issue will be addressed.
Dilating on the issue of the school feeding program, Timbo, said plans are well underway for the commencement of the program targeting mainly schools in deprived communities.
He also spoke about the Free Quality Education Basket Fund, which he said has been receiving money from the pledges made by some government officials, NGOs, private institutions and international donor partners.
The minister further commended Mercury International for committing itself to the construction of 80 class rooms within the period of 4 years after the signing of an MOU with them.
On the issue of teacher’s welfare, Mr. Timbo, said he is no stranger to the issues affecting them, but however maintained that plans are well underway to address their issues and appealed to them to be patient as the country’s economy at the moment is not healthy to address all their concerns.
He furthered that this government inherited a battered economy and already with the introduction of the Free Quality Education, a huge chunk of the budget is going towards that direction and therefore appealed to teachers to show understanding.
Already, he said the salaries of teachers, as pronounced by the Minister of Finance during the presentation of the supplementary budget in parliament have been increased for those within the range of Grade 1 to 6.
Timbo also spoke about the pronouncement of President Bio to award university scholarship to the teachers of 3 children who have taught for 10 years uninterruptedly.
He also mentioned the Teachers Meritorious Award, which his ministry through the Office of the President is planning to organize to serve as a motivation to dedicated and selfless teachers.