October 14, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
While reading a position paper at the launch of the Advocacy on Enhanced Completion of Schooling for all Vulnerable Girls project at the Bank Complex in Freetown yesterday, adolescent Kadiatu S. Sesay from the Saint Joseph’s Secondary School called on relevant authorities to enforce the code of conduct for teachers and other educational personnel, so as to eradicate malpractices and exploitation of pupils in schools.
She demanded the creation of opportunities and facilities that would attract more women to the teaching profession, especially in remote communities, so as to provide role models who would help reduce the exploitation of girls and make the school environment child-friendly.
The eloquent adolescent girl thrilled her audience yesterday at a ceremony to celebrate International Day of the Girl Child which coincided with the launch of the Advocacy on Enhanced Completion of Schooling for all Vulnerable Girls project, under the auspices of the office of the Wife of the Vice President, and demanded “effective monitoring and evaluation by providing a system for teachers and students so that children can be involved in education service monitoring.”
“Government should support Ebola affected orphans, as well provide scholarship for under privileged children. They should reactivate bordering facilities to facilitate girl’s access to secondary schools in big towns,” she called.
Kadiatu Sesay urged the government to create more platforms to enable girls channel their concerns and make their challenges known, as a means of addressing violence against girls in the country.
She also called on the government to provide water and sanitation facilities in schools across the country in order to improve the health of pupils.
Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Jonta Mumie Foh, said available statistics indicate that one 1 in 6 girls in Sierra Leone will attend high school, with the completion rate even lower.
“A girl in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she attends high school,” she said, and added that when a girl is educated her life survival changes and opportunities increase dramatically.
“I believe attention must also be paid to their sexual and reproductive health rights so that we can reduce, if not end their vulnerability to coercion, abuse, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections including HIV,” she said
She said the main thrust of the project was to help transition girls due to write the Basic Education Examination Certificate (BECE) examinations to promote to senior secondary school without pregnancy.
First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma said the initiative would motivate adolescent girls to prioritise education by paying attention to their studies and attaining good results that would enable them gain admission into college and complete their tertiary education.
She commended partners who provide support for girl education in Sierra Leone.