Kenema District Council Chairman unhappy with MEST

Only four out of 36 schools approved in four years!

November 21, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

The Kenema District Council Chairman has expressed dissatisfaction over what he described as the reluctance of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MEST) to approve dozens of schools in the eastern provincial district.

Dr. Senesi Mansaray said that following complaints by some head teachers and principals in the district who are yet to have their schools approved, he had written several letters to the district office of MEST, but was yet to receive any positive feedback.

The Chairman was reacting to questions posed to him during a visit of officers of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) as to reasons why a school they had constructed four years ago has not been approved.

“Tiloma Junior Secondary school is one of the many schools that have not been approved by MEST. We have furnished the Ministry of Education with the necessary documents but all what they would say is that the school has not met the criteria,” he told the NACSA team.

Tiloma village is located four miles from Kenema town, and has a population of about 2,000. The only junior secondary school in the village has twice fielded candidates to write the Basic Education Certificate Examinations since it was reconstructed by NaCSA in 2004, despite being ‘unapproved’ by MEST.

Dr. Senesi said the ministry was yet to tell them what criteria to fulfill in order to be approved.

He said although MEST has devolved some functions to the council, no office within council manages the affairs of education.

But District Education Director, Francess Nanah Kamara, declined knowledge of receipt of any letter from the council asking for the approval of schools.

She noted that the major challenge over the years had been opening of new schools without the knowledge of the government, thus the existence of many mushroom schools in the district.

She conceded that the current economic situation in the country meant that government was reluctant to approve new schools.

She disclosed that the ministry was putting modalities in place to train some 40,000 teachers nationwide in December 2016.

Ms. Kamara said out of 36 schools that have been verification within the district, only 4 were approved by the ministry due to lack of certain facilities.

“Lack of toilet, water and palyground facilities are some of the issues discovered in those schools,” she said.