February 5, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
National Coordinator of Democracy Sierra Leone has called for the inclusion of civil society organizations to monitor the process leading to the reopening of schools and tertiary institutions in late March.
Alhaji Mohamed Warisay told Concord Times that even though they welcome the announcement by the president to reopen schools, the process should be well monitored with CSOs taking the lead.
He said their inclusion in the process would provide the much-needed confidence pupils and students need to return to school because, according to him, some parents and guardians are not willing to allow their children to go to school for fear of contracting the Ebola virus.
“We welcome the announcement by the government to reopen schools in March because school-going children have been sitting at home doing nothing. But we want the authorities concerned to provide us the opportunity of monitoring the process,” Warisay said.
He noted that it was the primary responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to ensure that schools are disinfected, especially those that are currently being used as holding and treatment centres.
According to him, the Ministry of Education should set-up a panel of prominent personalities in a bid to ascertain the readiness of pupils to resume academic work, claiming that majority of students have neither been reading their notes nor listening to the teaching programme on radio.
Mr. Warisay appealed to education authorities to ensure that schools currently being used as holding and treatment centers stop being so utilised because pupils attending those schools would be scared to go to such schools upon reopening.
After eight months of closure of schools due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, President Ernest Bai Koroma recently announced that schools would reopen in March. The announcement had been followed by meetings with the relevant stakeholders, including development partners, as preparations gather pace ahead of the return to school by thousands of pupils and students.