December 21, 2017 By Memunatu Bangura
Executive Director of Media Watch-Sierra Leone has pleaded with the government, through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, to visit university campuses and find a lasting solution to problems affecting disabled students.
Francis Ndanema stated that over the years persons with disabilities in tertiary institutions have been going through serious challenge to access government grants-in-aid.
He was speaking at a presser organised in collaboration with Walpoleans, with support from Lilian Foundation, through One Family People.
He said the process of accessing and submitting grants-in-aid forms has not only been tedious but sometimes unachievable, adding that not all disabled persons who had applied for the grants-in-aid were awarded.
“Twenty-seven disabled students at Fourah Bay College applied for grant-in-aid for the 2016/2017 academic year but only seventeen students were successful. Some disabled have been asked out of examination hall and later ended up paying their fees amidst difficulties,” he said.
He called on the Ministry of Education to embark on verification in the various campuses to ascertain those with disabilities pursuing courses.
“We want the education ministry and development partners to help provide transportation and negotiate with the universities to provide free accommodation for the disabled on campus,” Ndanema urged.
Famata Jalloh, a disabled student at FBC, stated that even though she went through the process of acquiring a grant-in-aid form, she was never given a grant.
“I ended paying my fee of over two millions Leones after several unsuccessful attempts to get the scholarship during my first year in college. I was also unsuccessful in my second year and I had to drop out,” she said.