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MBSSE Increases GPE Program Utilization Rate From 10% to 36% in Less Than 12 Months

The Chief of Education at UNICEF Sierra Leone, Celeste Staley has commended the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) for effectively implementing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) program in Sierra Leone. She said the utilization rate of the GPE program in Sierra Leone has increased from 10% in February 2020 to 36% in January 2021. She described the utilization increase as a great achievement.
GPE provides technical assistance and funding to lower-income country governments, for every girl and boy to have hope and opportunity. In Sierra Leone, UNICEF-SL serves as the GPE Grant Agent.
The UNICEF Chief of Education was speaking at MBSSE’s validation retreat of the GPE Program in Sierra Leone. The retreat created a platform for government and partners to review and accelerate completion of the GPE Program in the country.
Speaking further, the UNICEF Chief of Education announced to the validation meeting that the GPE is happy with the accomplishment. She added that two years ago GPE was unhappy that only 10% utilization rate was realised, but she said, the current increase achieved in less than a year is a great relief to UNICEF and GPE.
At the end of the validation workshop, Celeste said the exercise was productive. She said key decisions were made as the way forward to accelerate the continued implementation of the GPE Program.
Accounting for the 36% utilization rate, GPE Program Officer at MBSSE Jonathan Kpakiwa said key outputs realized from the utilization rate among several others, are the establishment of 30 Early Childhood Development Centres, in Kambia, Portloko and Bombali districts (these ECD centres will be ready for commissioning by the end of April 2021), capacity building exercise for 5000 teachers of primary 1 to 3 classes, support to the development of education policies, MBSSE’s system strengthening and the Ministry’s response to COVID 19 through distance learning ( Radio Teaching Program) and a number of nationwide comprehensive safety campaigns, one of which is the Zero schoolgirls pregnancy campaign.
Commenting on the 36% utilization rate of the GPE Program, the GPE Coordinator at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Mr Amara Sowa said, the Ministry strongly desires to fully implement the GPE Program, and as a result, the leadership of the Ministry invited all the parties and stakeholders involved in the GPE Program to look at the Ministry’s collaboration with UNICEF. Mr Sowa said that the aim of the validation exercise was to address the challenges faced in the implementation of projects and programs connected with UNICEF and GPE. He said, during the workshop, the Ministry and Partners discussed the factors that have been slowing down the implementation of the program, and further decided on mechanisms and approaches that could make the implementation of the program smooth, fast and efficient.
In his address at the workshop, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr David Moinina Sengeh noted that what should be more important to everyone present at the meeting was what would happen after the workshop, which he called “problem-solving”. He urged officials of his ministry and partners to be mindful of the quality of results achieved when carrying out field operations to scale-up learning outcomes in schools and ensure equitably and quality access to education. He encouraged his team to put in the required efforts in order to prevent the challenges highlighted in the validation workshop from showing-up in the next validation exercise.

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