August 25, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Deputy Director of Education in Port Loko District has told Concord Times that 28 learning centres, which were established for pregnant women and lactating mothers, would fold-up by the end of this month, and that students would return to normal schooling.
Brima Thaimu Koroma said female students that were impregnated during the Ebola outbreak were taken to the centres, where they received tuition in core subjects, plus psycho-social and sexual reproductive health education.
He added that one of the successes of the project was that they were able to take back the first batch of women to school during the last academic year.
“The others have expressed interest in returning to school and we allowed them to choose the schools they wanted to attend when the academic year starts. We have told the principals to admit them to their schools of choice without asking for anything,” he said.
He noted that when the project phases out at the end of the month, they would get an exit consultation at district level to look at successes, challenges, as well as identify resolutions for future programmes.
He disclosed that with funds from DFID, through World Vision, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology would decongest classrooms in nine schools in Port Loko district, noting that six Junior Secondary and three Senior Secondary schools would benefit from the project.
“We have identified the schools and there will be fabrication of furniture at these schools. Some of them will have to benefit from the construction of latrines and water wells,” he disclosed.
The Deputy Director of Education also disclosed that in order to improve monitoring activities in the schools, the ministry has established an improved monitoring and coordinating situation room as part of the post-Ebola recovery, adding that situation rooms have been established in all districts and chiefdoms in the country.
He said the situation rooms receive information on the inadequate supply of school materials, whether schools are not observing safety measures like washing of hands, misuse of students, lack of hygiene materials in schools, food supply, and teachers’ failure to give the stipulated take-home ration to pupils.
“The information will be passed on to the relevant authorities for action to be taken. The criteria for selection to be a monitor is that one should be a member of the Community Teachers Association (CTA) and School Management Committee (SMC). Each ward has three monitors,” he said.
He said the Ministry of Education had trained Information Technology (IT) officers that should be in the situation room, adding that UNICEF, in collaboration with the ministry, had provided solar panels to electrify the situation room, which has enough computers and accessories.