While presenting the 2019 budget in Parliament past Friday, the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, said government is allocating Le1.14 trillion representing 21 percent of the total budget to the education sector.
This, he said will support the delivery of Free Quality School Education, which includes the school feeding programme, examination fees for NPSE, BECE and WASSCE, provision of textbooks and teaching and learning materials free education for senior secondary schools as well as support for school monitoring and supervision.
The allocation, he stated also includes the sum of Le631.6 billion for salaries to teachers, adding that the sum of Le215.8 billion will be provided for the strengthening of technical and higher education including grants to tertiary education institutions, tuition fee subsidy for students of tertiary and technical institutions, payment for University admission application forms and seed money to set up the Student’s Loan Scheme Trust Board.
The amount, he added also includes the Le86.8 billion allocated for devolved functions in the education sector, adding that the sum of Le56.4 billion is allocated in the domestic capital budget to complete the procurement of 50 school buses, and counterpart funds for the rehabilitation of Fourah Bay College, Bunumbu Teachers College, Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, the Prince of Wales School, Government Secondary School Bo, Government Secondary School Kenema and the Government Secondary School for Boys Magburaka.
The domestic capital budget, he furthered also includes allocations for the construction and refurbishment of Technical and Vocational Institutions, development of classrooms, laboratories in the Universities, Teacher Training Colleges and Vocational training centres.
“With US$20.0 million support from the World Bank and US$2.0 million from the domestic capital budget, Government will commence the implementation of a Skills Development Project for our youths in 2019. To address quality, Government will provide the sum of Le7.5 billion for strengthening the capacity of school the inspectorate division of the Basic and Secondary Education. Specifically, Government will recruit and train additional School Inspectors, and provide them with logistics including motorbikes, fuel and DSA to facilitate regular monitoring and supervision. These inspectors will in turn be expected to prepare written reports on a regular basis on their findings for the attention of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education,” he said.
The minister also noted that most school facilities are not easily accessible to Persons Living with Disabilities and in line with the provisions contained in the Persons with Disability Act, 2011, Government will ensure that school facilities are easily accessible to Persons with Disability by constructing ramps with rails at the entrances of the buildings and classrooms. Henceforth, all school facilities constructed by Government will be disability friendly.
He also stated that development partners including the World Bank, European Union, DFID, Saudi Fund and BADEA will disburse a total Le110.3 billion to fund various projects in the education sector.