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MBSSE Leadership Engages Over 300 Principals on Teachers, Students Poor Attendance

The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr David Moinina Sengeh, Deputy Minister 1, Chief Education Officer, Deputy Chief Education Officer and several senior directors of the Ministry of Basic Education on Wednesday 23rd March had a town hall meeting with Principals and school heads from public and private schools in the Western Area to discuss the poor attendance of students and teachers in Schools.

“In the last couple of weeks, I made an unannounced visit to schools in the Western Area and I noticed that most of the classes are half empty with students and with the teacher that is supposed to teach them absent. Most of the students voluntarily don’t go to school because they are not sure about being taught and some of the teachers are using the poor attendance of pupils as a defence for not teaching. As a teacher, even if you meet a single student in class, your role is to teach, so let us remove the burden from the children,” Dr. Sengeh said.

The meeting is to discuss challenges and issues raised by the public and those observed by MBSSE staff, and also an opportunity for these Principals and school leaders to share ideas of what’s working in their schools, think about solutions together to their shared problems, and build new and trusted relationships.
School principals highlighted several challenges they are faced with like, some of their teachers not committed to teaching with little they can do about it, a few of their teachers not on the payroll and only receiving stipend from the school, public schools principals complaining of sharing their teachers with private schools, some teachers are students in institutions of higher learning among others.

The MBSSE Leadership during the town hall meeting voiced the opinions of school leaders on what can be done to improve attendance and learning outcomes in schools and many suggestions were made for future consideration.

“We’d made joint commitments and resolved to improve the quality of education across the board. School leadership is our sure way of turning around our schools, and we, as a government, are committed to helping make this reality.

The Teaching Service Commission Chair and Chief Executive Officer will lead a road trip to have similar engagements in other districts,” he said. “Quality isn’t a switch you simply turn on… it’s a system you build, and we are well underway. We need everyone on board this train,” the Minister concluded.

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