DECEMBER 5, 2014 By Hawa Amara
Heal Sierra Leone has said that they are disappointed with the decision of Serra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) to ban the popular radio and television teaching programme pioneered by the former.
The popular stopgap initiative to mitigate the effect of closure of schools across the country due to the current Ebola outbreak is the brainchild of the organization, according to Executive Director of HEAL Salone, Joseph Sannoh.
Speaking at a presser this week, Sannoh revealed that the programme was abruptly axed by the public broadcaster, SLBC.
“I want to state here that before receiving the suspension letter which was dated 19th [November] from SLBC on the 20th November, 2014, the SLBC had already suspended the programme. That is not only unjust but unlawful, unconstitutional and a breach of contract,” Sannoh averred.
He alleged that the SLBC had taken directives from government ministries, apparently the Ministry of Education, to ban the programme. He condemned the act, not least because the SLBC is a public institution which should serve the interest of the public.
He said they had had several meetings with officials of the Ministry of Education and the Director-General of SLBC when they had rumoured that the programme was going to be stopped from airing, but both set of officials denied the claim. He said they have tried to recommence the programme but Education officials and the SLBC Director-General, Gbanabom Hallowell, have been reticent to their plea.
“We all know that the country is undergoing a difficult time due to the Ebola outbreak, which has led to the close down of schools and the only way we can engage those children is through media. So anybody who is stopping the children from learning warrants to be suspended or dismissed from office,” said the director of HEAL Sierra Leone, adding that it was clear that both SLBC and MEST are not serious about education, which he said is the bedrock to national development.
“This is totally wrong and a violation of child rights,” he said.