MBSSE, Partners Hold Inception Retreat on Rolling-Out of $40 million GPE Grant

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The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) and partners are on a three-day inception retreat on the rolling-out of a $40 million Global Partnership for Education (GPE) grant to implement the foundational learning for all projects (2023-2027).

The retreat is taking place from the 10th-12th October at The Place Resort Tokeh with the “Accelerating government’s commitment to Education with focus on delivering foundational learning for all children.”

The board of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) approved US$ 40 million in grants for Sierra Leone during their July meeting. The grants include the US$ 22.5 million System Transformation Grant, the US$ 15 million Multiplier Grant and the US$ 2.5 million System Capacity Grant.

The grants are awarded based on an application following the development of Sierra Leone’s partnership Compact “Foundations of Learning for All” with the overarching goal that all students acquire foundational skills and learning gaps for girls and other marginalized groups are closed. This is fully aligned with Sierra Leone’s Education Sector Plan (ESP) “Transforming Learning for All” as well as with Sierra Leone’s Zero-Learning Poverty Plan and the country’s international commitments to cut learning poverty in half by 2030.

National GPE Coordinator and Director for International Partnerships and Financing in the MBSSE, Mr. Emmanuel Allie states that the Project Implementation Roll-Out Workshop is a dynamic three-day event meticulously crafted to empower participants in effectively steering complex projects towards successful fruition.

“The primary goal is to ensure that all stakeholders gain a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities in contributing to the success of this critical initiative. By doing so, the workshop serves as the initial step toward advancing foundational learning outcomes in Sierra Leone, aligning collaborative efforts, and fostering a collective commitment to achieving the objectives outlined in the GPE Partnership Compact and the Education Sector Plan 2022-2026,” he said.

The Grant Agent for the program is the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who will receive the funds on the government’s behalf.

“This workshop underscores the dedication and commitment of Sierra Leone’s Government, in partnership with UNICEF and development partners like the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Irish Aid, the World Bank, and others to address the critical issue of expanding access and improving the quality of foundational learning outcomes for all children in Sierra Leone,” according to Madam Liv Elin Indreiten – Deputy Representative Programme.

During his keynote address in the opening session of the retreat, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Mr. Conrad Sackey took his audience through the efforts made by President Bio’s government in addressing learning poverty, especially in the area of foundational learning.

“I am pleading to all of you, this funding that we have attracted, it is not business as usual. Let us not think as we thought yesterday. In order to make the tomorrows of our young people better than today, we have to think outside the box,” the Minister said.

The workshop spans three days, delving into critical aspects of project implementation, management, and coordination. Each day is dedicated to specific themes, enabling participants to progressively build their expertise.

Foundational learning encompasses core skills such as basic literacy, numeracy, civic education, digital awareness and socio-emotional skills, which serve as the bedrock for further learning and higher-order abilities. The transformation efforts will center on innovative pedagogical solutions and improvements in pre-primary and the initial four years of primary education. This initiative is supported by robust data analysis and governance reforms.

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