July 31, 2015 By Joseph Turay
Stakeholders of Konike Chiefdom in the Tonkolili District have lamented the poor state of education is the northern district.
John Thullah, a chiefdom education coordinator, told Concord Times yesterday in Freetown that “the children did very poor [in recent examinations conducted before the closure of schools]. Some pupils did not even answer the questions they were asked to answer during the exams”.
Thullah said the story is similar in other chiefdoms in the district, which incidentally is home of the current Minister of Education. “My colleagues also told me that pupils did poorly during this year’s final exams in their areas of work,” he said, adding that Education, Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Minkailu Bah, should pay special attention to the district.
Although stakeholders blame local and national education authorities for the decline, others have attributed it to social challenges confronting the youths in general.
Mustapha Sherman Kakpa, station manager of Konike Radio 89.4 FM in Makali, said: “Teenage pregnancy and child marriage are very high in Tonkolili District,” although he did not state specific data.
Kakpa also opined that illiteracy, lack of information, poverty and parental connivance were to blame for the surge in teenage pregnancy and early marriage in the district.
He said the local radio station airs a popular programme called ‘My Area’, which accords community people the opportunity to call and report issues affecting them in the district.
“Parents call at the station everyday about how their children, who are supposed to be in school, are now pregnant. Pupils who are supposed to be children are now mothers,” he said.
He revealed that by-laws enunciated by the community to protect girls from boys and men are not being observed.
However, he noted that conscious efforts are being made by descendants of Konike Chiefdom to reverse the trend, including a recent meeting to discuss issues affecting their community.
He said the chiefdom is probably among the least developed in the country as successive governments have failed to bring any form of development in the area.
The chiefdom cannot boast of good roads, pipe-borne water, and a proper market centre, he added.