…provides food, accommodation and transportation
May 31, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Bonthe District Council has rescued over 1,500 ‘less privilege pupils’ who travelled from distant villages to write the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) in Mattru Jong, Imperri and Bum chiefdoms last Saturday.
According to chairperson of the council, Rita Ngandie Savage, they decided to support the NPSE candidates because most of them travelled from hard-to-reach villages to the examination centres in the district.
She added that NPSE candidates always struggle for food and accommodation whenever they come to Mattru Jong to write the exams.
“Some even sleep in night clubs and could not study at night. Some of the girls do chase men from one place to another in order to get money to buy food. After the exam, they could be seen stranded and finding it difficult to return to their different villages,” she disclosed.
She noted that before she was elected council chairperson, she supported NPSE pupils for one year and that she realised their constraints as a result.
She recalled that when she was elected in 2012, she and all the councilors unanimously took a decision to help out-station NPSE candidates with food, transportation and accommodation every year.
Madam Savage disclosed that there were three examination centres in the 11 chiefdoms and that the centres were far away from where most of the candidates came from.
“Beside this support, the council has also been awarding scholarships to the best performing pupils in the exams. The provision of food, transportation and accommodation to the pupils has over the years helped them to come out with flying colours,” she said.
She disclosed that the council solicited support from Sierra Rutile Foundation and World Vision – a mining coming and non-governmental organisation respectively – to undertake the project.
Highlighting her constrains, she said most of the teachers in the district were yet to be on the government payroll.
“Most of the students are not under proper parental supervision. Some are being left to take care of themselves and that is a recipe for prostitution. If our district is to be developed, the children who are the future should be monitored by their parents,” she stated.
She therefore called for the re-establishment of boarding schools in Mattru in order to get pupils effectively supervised.
Hawa Koroma, head teacher of BNDEC Primary School, said she and her 14 pupils came from a village in the Yawbeko chiefdom, which is about 31 miles away from Mattru Jong.
“Previously, our pupils and their teachers would walk to Mattru Jong to write the exams. But for the past four years the Bonthe District Council has been supporting us with vehicles, food and accommodation. This support has helped both the pupils and their parents as well,” she said.
Solomon Musa, head teacher of DEC Primary School in Kpawama village in the Nongorbabullar Chiefdom, said they walked 20-mile to come to Mattru Jong.
He noted that he was very happy that the council supported pupils with transportation, food and accommodation.
At Imperri Chiefdom, parents whose children were supported by the Council told this reporter that they were very happy with the support.
One of the parents, Sallay Kallon, said that prior to the intervention of Bonthe District Council, their children used to trek from outlying villages to write the exams at the Imperri Secondary School.
She added that their children used to roam about the township of Sierra Rutile in order to look for somewhere to sleep.
“We used to even receive complaints of our girls being abused by some ill-motivated men who claimed to be providing them with accommodation. But now they are safe in the hands of the council’s authorities. This is a very good thing that Madam Rita Savage and her councilors have done for us,” she said.
Chief Administrator of the Council, Francis Tiffa, said the support was one of the best in the area of education in the district.
He added that the council was with the belief that if human resource in the district was capacitated, the future of the entire district would be bright.
“We have been awarding scholarships to the best candidates in the NPSE and BECE exams in Bonthe district. Three of the council’s supported students are now living with Rita Savage and she has been personally paying their fees,” he disclosed.
He urged parents to continue monitoring their children and also encouraged the latter to be studious.