By Aruna Momoh Kargbo
The government of Sierra Leone has launched the sum of $66 Million Trust Fund project which is geared towards supporting the Free Quality Education Flagship Project manifesto promise of His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio.
That the project will be financed by the World Bank grant of $50 million, €9.9 million from the European Union (EU), Irish Aid €3.5 million support among others.
Launching the project President Bio explained that their Medium-Term National Development Plan is titled education for development for which they have increased budgetary allocation to 21%, which he noted has increased to 22% according to the Minister of Finance.
President Bio noted that in their New Direction Manifesto, they looked at how they can reform the education system in the country and realized that in order to address the challenges, they should focus on education governance, financing, resource management and human capital development.
That they also noted the need for education planning, curriculum reform, school management and monitoring and coordination at all level which will inform strategic decision making.
He stated that school management boards should be depoliticized by redefining their roles and reintegrate them for service delivery.
That the project supports government’s drive in fulfilling part of their manifesto promises of ensuring that there is efficient resource mobilization and financing of the Free Quality Education Program.
That the project will help in upgrading the standard of learning in the country as it will be used in the designing and construction of schools, a learning assessment framework will be developed in order to monitor the quality of learning across schools.
That government will serve as a primary implementing entity of the project and that assessment and monitoring will be undertaken by both government and supporting partners.
The World Bank Country Director, Gayle Martin maintained that the multi-million-dollar project is a five years project that seeks to support the Free Quality Education program in Sierra Leone which caters for primary and secondary education nationwide.
She assured that the project will ensure the improvement of the education system, the teaching practices and improving the conditions of learning.
She furthered that the World Bank appreciates efforts that have been made by the government of Sierra Leone in embracing human capital development.
Appreciating the commitment exhibited so far by his team, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), David M. Sengeh stated that they appreciate the move made by the development partners and the government of Sierra Leone in supporting education in Sierra Leone.
He assured that they will continue to work with the Ministry of Finance in order to ensure the development of education in the country.
He pleaded with the president to look into the affairs of the teachers in order to ensure that they are reassessed for better conditions of service.