EFA welcomes launch of free quality education


- calls of review of teachers’ conditions of service

August 28, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

EFASL’s National Coordinator, Joseph A. Cobinah

Education For All Sierra Leone Coalition has welcomed the official launch of the free quality education programme by President Julius Maada Bio, describing it as a laudable venture which every Sierra Leonean must embrace.

In fulfillment of promise he had made while campaigning to assume the highest office of the land, President Bio on Monday, August 20, lunched the free education programme, which will commence in September.

According to the president, the initiative would be implemented in phases for the next five years, with the provision of school learning materials as well as admission and school fees for pupils in junior and secondary schools to be paid by government during phase one of the implementation.

In an exclusive interview with Concord Times, EFA National Coordinator, Joseph A. Cobinah, stated that the free quality education was something they have been agitating for all the years through campaigns, adding that they were happy it has now been actualised.

He said the June Declaration in the 90s and the Dakar Framework in 2000 talked about access to free quality basic education, which is yet to be implemented in many African countries.

“We are proud not only for the president and his team but the country as a whole because we have something to show the world that we are really prepared to develop a generation that will be well equipped with knowledge to move faster and reduce the level of illiteracy,” he said.

Cobinah said they would be carrying out independent monitoring of the process across the country devoid of government support.

Because the commitments are huge and funds would be generated from tax payers’ money and that of donors, he noted that somebody must be there to ensure the programme’s judicious implementation.

He urged that all leakages, ill processes, and other factors that could undermine the process must be taken seriously.

Cobinah called on government, through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, to carry out a holistic review of teachers’ conditions of service as it was not favourable.

“Let me put it categorically that without quality trained and qualify teachers, quality education will not be achieved. So the conditions of service for teachers should be improved. Improvement should not only be salary increase but housing, transportation, medical and remote school allowances as well,” he urged.