September 7, 208
By Alusine Sesay
President of the Sierra Leone Council of Principals, Rev. Scot Manga, has cautioned his colleague principals to hands-off selling uniforms to parents so as to maintain integrity in the implementation of the free quality education flagship programme of the New Direction administration.
While many parents expected the government to provide uniforms and bags for pupils as part of the free quality education package, President Bio, during the launch of the package at the Miatta Conference Centre in August omitted that. The package he announced includes text books for core subjects, tuition fees, meal, pens and pencils. As part of measures to maintain transparency in the entire process, government recently announced official prices for various school materials, including uniforms.
According to Rev. Manga, who was speaking on the ‘Morning Coffee’ programme on Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation radio, the expectation of parents poses a challenge to the implementation of the free quality education programme.
Although he frowned at the type of uniforms used by most pupils, especially girls, he noted that ‘I am calling on principals to take their hands-off the selling of uniforms to parents, if they want to maintain integrity.’
President Scot Manga noted that government frowns at the institution of Community Teachers Association (CTA) because some parents agree to pay certain unofficial charges and later blame school authorities of extortion.
Meanwhile, the opposition has described the free quality education as a complete sham because the New Direction administration has reneged on their previous promise of providing school uniforms and bags for pupils. The government on the other hand has argued that the programme would be implemented for five years and that it would be implemented by phases.
During the presidential debate at the Bintumani hotel in Freetown, President Bio promised to allot three hundred and eighty thousand Leones (Le380, 000) per pupil, a sum that would provide school bags, uniforms and other learning materials.