- Education Minister
March 16, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Minister of Education, Science and Technology has told members of the Education Committee in Parliament that schools will reopen on 23 March for Junior Secondary School pupils that will be taking the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), and on 14 April for all categories of school children across the country. This, he said, is due to late disinfection of schools headed by the Health Ministry.
Dr. Minkailu Bah said even though schools had been slated to reopen on 16 March with the disinfecting of schools completed by 15 March, a postponement had been agreed after meetings with President Ernest Bai Koroma recommended a delay in order to ensure a better and healthy environment for school children.
He said thermometers for checking temperatures have arrived in the country, with the National Electoral Commission designated to handle the distribution while the distribution of hygiene kits will be handled by the factory which procured them, according to an agreement with the International Development Bank.
He noted that lots of concerns have been raised by members of the public and some institutions that schools should not reopen for fear that such could spike the number of Ebola cases across the country.
But the Minister of Education denied the claim, citing Liberia where schools have reopened and are still registering zero new case, while Guinea did same with the help of community sensitisation.
He said Sierra Leone should emulate Liberia by reopening schools even when some districts are still registering few cases of Ebola, and proposed the introduction of Ebola teaching in all schools. He said Sierra Leoneans should strictly adhere to health advisory on the virus, to register zero case across the country.
Dr. Bah also disclosed that some 163,000 radios have been procured for school teaching programme targeting remote villages, 54,700 thermometers to supply to primary and secondary schools across the country, while school fees for BECE, WASSCE and NPSE pupils will be paid by government to the West Africa Examination Council before schools reopen.