State House, Freetown, Monday 5 October 2020 – Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education has today launched the Sierra Leone Education Project and signed a US$ 66 Million 5-year Multi-Donor Trust Fund before His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio.
Welcoming development partners, the Honourable Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, said that the launch of the education project by the World Bank, Irish Aid, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the European Union, EU, showed the importance of partnership in supporting the President. He emphasised that that and other programmes would develop and strengthen the country’s education system.
“Today every Sierra Leonean kid wants to be in school. That explains clearly the Free Education Programme has created a tremendous impact. This has, no doubt, given reasons to His Excellency’s vision to prioritise human capital development as the bedrock of the New Direction Government,” he noted.
The World Bank Country Manager, Gayle Martin, said they were happy to celebrate the first day of the start of the new school term with the launching of the Sierra Leone Education Project, as well as signing the Education Multi-Donor Trust Fund with development partners.
She noted that with Government’s flagship Free Quality Education Programme, the project would be a five-year support to primary and secondary education nationwide, adding that, in particular, the aim was to improve the management of the education system, teaching practice and learning conditions.
“Education is the single-most important determinant of economic mobility and the importance of investing in education cannot be overemphasised. The World Bank congratulates the efforts of the government of Sierra Leone, the leadership of President Bio in placing education and human capital development, more generally, at the centre of the national development agenda, as articulated in the National Development Plan, and also as reflected in budget allocations since 2018, under challenging macro-fiscal conditions,” she noted.
Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr Moinina David Sengeh, said that the event showed a celebration of the education sector as they witnessed the formal kick-off of the Free Education Project. He recalled that when he took up office the first challenge was to restructure the ministry so that it could absorb resources, engage partners and deliver education services to all children; digitalize the ministry through technology that would help do work better; help school leaders lead better, help teacher teach better and also help pupils to learn better.
”I am pleased to report to your Excellency that not only do you have a ministry fit for purpose, we even have an entirely new directorate called Partnership and Resource Mobilisation. We cannot deliver effective services without the right global and local partnerships and efficient resource mobilization approaches. Today is a bold step marker under our belief as a ministry as we reaffirm our partnerships with the World Bank, Irish Aid, the EU, and the Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office,” he explained.
Dr Sengeh further stated that regardless of the many challenges the world had faced, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry recorded many gains, adding that they would continue to work and consult with partners, children, civil society and the private sector.
“We will continue to evolve and transform with evidence data. We are, more than ever, motivated and ready to deliver on our mandate and completely transform the education sector in Sierra Leone,” he assured.
In his remarks, President Bio said the fund was a demonstration of commitment, showing that they valued education and that they were appreciative of government’s effort at investing in human capital development.
He said that access to inclusive and free quality education to every child, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, place of origin socioeconomic or other status, would be transformative for the nation-building agenda, adding that his government had increased budgetary allocation to 21 per cent, increased enrolment and school nutrition programmes, provided free teaching and learning materials and free school buses.
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