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Sierra Leone
Friday, July 1, 2022
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9 out of 10 children cannot read and understand a simple text in Sub-Saharan Africa
-United Nations

By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Babatunde A. Ahonsi, Minister  of MBSSE Dr. Moinina David Sengeh and other dignitaries

The UnitedNations has disclosed at the national consultation for the transforming education summit that, nine out of ten children cannot read and understand a simple text in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Transforming Education Summit intends to put the spotlight on education and provides an opportunity for education stakeholders to advocate for sufficient, effective and equitable financing of education at global and domestic levels.

The overall objective is to harness the evolving discussions on transforming education, elaborate initial content for the summit, and generate greater momentum in the lead up to September.

The summit seeks to mobilize political ambition, action, solutions and solidarity to transform education and to take stock of efforts to recover pandemic-related learning losses; to reimagine education systems for the world of today and tomorrow; and to revitalize national and global efforts to achieve SDG-4.

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr. Babatunde A. Ahonsi, said the poignant scene that they have the privilege to witness everyday here in Sierra Leone is a stark reminder of what has been accomplished thus far in terms of access to education in the country and the work that they all here still must do.

“The simple truth is that, today, well into the 21st century, millions of children and young people are still not in school, and millions of those in school are not really learning, not really achieving the kind of learning that is relevant for their lives in the world they are living in,” he said.

He said in 2021, UN Secretary-General Guterres announced that a Transforming Education Summit (TES) would be convened in September 2022 as a global strategy to avert a generational catastrophe and rethinking education system, especially in the context of COVID-19, which has disrupted education system globally, affecting the most vulnerable learners the hardest.

He concluded that the TES is so important because it is where heads of states and leaders of nations and global institutions must commit not just to accelerate the pace, but actually to reimagine and transform education system.

He said it is only through such a radical transformation they will be able really accomplish the goals of inclusive, quality education for all.

Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. Moinina David Sengeh, in his words, said education and teaching have always been at the heart of progress.

He said it’s the foundation that is expected to sustain brilliant breakthroughs, manage risks, and inspire continuous development.

“The only way the education sector can provide a strong foundation is, if it continuously evolves and adapts to the needs of society,” he said.

He further states that the teaching and education summit 2022 would be an interactive event and knowledge platform for everyone involved in the field of education, and that the goal of TES summit 2022 is to create an environment that facilitates conversations and the exchange of ideas that move the field forward, inspire collaboration, and create a bridge that connects ideas and minds from around the world.

He said they have gone far for the past two years in the educational sector, in public examinations and that more children were now passing public examinations than before.

He thanked President Bio for allocating 20% of the country’s national budget to the educational sector, to enhance every child to be able to access free and quality education in every part of the country.

He concluded by thanking all the partners for ensuring that they have the pre-summit to discuss way forward in improving education in the country.

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