August 8, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
In a bid to improving standards of education in Sierra Leone, stakeholders in the sector last Friday converged at the conference hall of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) to develop professional standards for teachers and school leaders.
The 3-day European Union funded project attracted heads of schools, experts, professors, lecturers, principals and the Deputy minister of Education II, James M. Kamara.
The EU team leader, John Virtue noted that they were providing their largest support to education in Sierra Leone in the sum of 29 million euro.
He said improving equitable access, quality in teaching; learning and management have been the major focus of EU.
The Minister of Education II, James M. Kamara, assured of the ministry’s support to the Teaching Service Commission to set up professional standards of education.
While he expressed dissatisfaction over the decline of standards in education, he also commended the TSC for their tough action though they were at the developing stage.
Earlier in her welcome address, Chairperson of TSC, Dr. Staneala M. Beckley, noted that the project was timely and commended the donor partner for their support.
“This is the very first programme we are opening to the public. This project is a new transformation in the development of education,” she said.
In his power point presentation, expert hired by the EU, Professor Steve Nwokeocha said the talk of teachers’ professional standards has dominated discussions across Africa in the last ten years.
He said the purpose of the meeting was to initiate a process and to develop standards for teachers in Sierra Leone.
He stated that professional standards was the consensus of critical stakeholders and that it was only when it exist a profession has gotten a sense of direction, a fulcrum, a pivot and a criterion for monitoring, assessing, evaluating and improvement for teaching and learning.
“A profession without standards cannot compete globally, and internationalization of its workforce or professional workforce of professionals is impossible,” he said.
He noted that it was a concern for teachers because for so long they have been relegated to the background, and that they are not opportune to get enough reward for their input and sacrifices.
“When these standards are put in place then teachers could be judged appropriately. You could know what should be expected of them,” he said.
Mrs. Bernadette Cole, presidential appointee, TSC, said a committee was set up by President Koroma to look into the decline of education.
She said setting up standard was very important not only for teachers but also for parents and school leaders.