January 23, 2015 With Victoria Saffa
School pupils, teachers and parents have welcomed news of the reopening of schools this March, almost nine months after Education officials slammed an enforced closure due to the Ebola outbreak.
Concord Times’ Victoria Saffa was out and about in Freetown to gauge the mood among teachers, parents and pupils following the announcement by State House on Wednesday, 22 January.
As expected, many have welcomed the move and called on the government to make special provisions for pupils who have lost their parents during the Ebola crisis.
Salifu Bangura – Teacher, Evangelical Model High School
I am very happy about the consultative meeting the president held with the Ministry of Education on the reopening of schools in the country. As a teacher, I am very delighted over the news as I have just been sitting at home doing nothing. I hate sitting at home; I am used to teaching every day.
Even though we have lost one term, we are going to put things in place for us to provide quality teaching and ensure pupils reach their academic potentials.
I have been praying very hard for us to reach a zero Ebola case in the country, and since the outbreak, the education sector has been one of the most affected sectors, and many school-going pupils are now orphans while some are now with their maker.
Mariatu Conteh – Parent
As a parent I felt good when I heard the news on radio that the Ministry of Education will reopen schools in March, which is a good thing for the country. I have four children and they are all school-going pupils; I have been praying for this because I have tough time with my children, especially for them to read their text books.
I am pleading with the government and other international organizations for them to provide support for children whose parents have been seriously hit by the Ebola outbreak, even though the country is facing a tough time now.
Joseph Momoh Koroma – Parent
The consultative meeting President Koroma held with the Ministry of Education on Wednesday is a good development for the country. The Education sector has been badly affected by the Ebola outbreak as nothing is presently happening with regards education, except for the radio and television teaching program which many pupils do not have access to.
I am calling on the government and other well-wishers to provide support for children who have lost their parents to the Ebola outbreak. In some homes the women are the ones who cater for their families, now that most of these women are dead, such will cause high dropout among children.
My children have been taking private classes at home, which is very costly.
Mohamed S. Kamara – SSS 4 Pupil, Sierra Leone Muslim Union Secondary School
I am very happy for the reopening of schools. Since the closure of schools I have not had much time going through my school work.
Since the Ebola outbreak hit the country, I have nothing to do at home except I help my mother do some domestic work. I have impregnated our neighbour’s daughter, which has caused a serious rift between our two families.
I appreciate the idea of going back to school, which will take me away from idleness. I am well prepared to go back to school to gain knowledge, especially as I will soon become a father, so that I can care for my unborn child in future.
Fatmata Koroma – Teacher, Church of God Primary School
President Koroma and the Ministry of Education have taken the right move with the decision to reopen schools because as a teacher, I am tired of sitting at home without doing anything.
Since the outbreak of Ebola, I have not been doing anything, except at times teaching my kids at home. I have seriously missed pupils in my class. As a community teacher, a good number of the pupils in my school lost their parents to the Ebola virus, and as a result most of them are now orphans. I am appealing to the government to cater for these children so that they can be educated.
Even though we have two terms left for the academic year, we can manage with the situation.
Abdulai Koroma – SSS4 Pupil, Sierra Leone Muslim Congress Secondary School
I feel very delighted about the reopening of schools, but at least the government should have waited until the next academic year, because my mother cannot afford to pay for me at this present moment, and the time (March) is too short.
My uncle and aunt who were taking care of my education are dead and my mother is a petty trader. I have six siblings that are in school and my mother is the one paying for all of them. When I heard the news yesterday on the radio, I felt delighted but I later became sad because the people who used to take care of my education are dead.
I am calling on the government and other well-wishers to help me with my education because I don’t want to become a dropout.