February 13, 2020
By Mohamed Massaquoi
The E U Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Tom Vens, has stated that the Government of Sierra Leone has created a great space for civic education in the country, especially with the mismatch or lack of understanding between what are the rights and duties of citizens.
Ambassador Vens made the statement during the visit of members of the National Council for Civic Education and Development (NaCCED).
He said young people are the key target for civic education in the country and that getting them to have a clear understanding of what are their rights, responsibilities and duties to the nation is key.
He admonishes NaCCED to decipher the factors that influence hope and the lack of hope for the youthful population in the country and know how it can be justified.
The EU Ambassador expressed interest in knowing more about the council’s strategic plan and where it needs interventions.
“NaCCED is a state institution that strives to cultivate a well-informed and engaged citizenry capable of contributing to the development process of the nation. The institution aims at capacitating the country’s citizenry and involving them in the democratic and development process,” he noted. .
Chairman for NaCCED, Ibrahim Kalilu Totangi, said their engagement with the head of EU Delegation was part of his organizations effort to familiarize its work with other key institutions in the country.
“We want to knock on the right doors and foster great relationships which could support our work and mandate in promoting civic education and participation in the country,” he said.
Briefing the EU Delegates on the activities undertaken by the council since its formation in 2018, Totangi disclosed that his council has set up a steering committee comprising of representatives from various sectors and political parties.
He also said that a major activating currently underway is the development of a formal and informal civic education curriculum for communities and primary school pupils in classes one to six and Junior Secondary school levels.
This, according to the NaCCED Chairman, is to reinforce civic knowledge to citizens and re-instate civic studies in schools targeting the young generation as it used to be.
Speaking as a representative for the Steering Committee Members of the Council, Dr Denis Bright who serves as Chairman for that committee described civic education as a felt need for all citizens.
He said civic education serves as an equipment of civic knowledge, understanding corruption, accountability, electoral processes amongst others.
According to Dr. Bright, there is currently no access to civic education for both the younger and older populations in the country.
“There has been a deficit of civic knowledge and therefore it is important to have a better preparation in order to get a sound product that will have a great impact on the education sector,” he said.
Dr. Bright is representing the National Grand Coalition (NGC) party in the steering committee and he is also the Chairman for his political party in the country.
He emphasised the need for the setting up of a monitoring and evaluation system that could get feedback on the impact of civic education in the country.