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Speeches: 2020

DECLARATION OF A STATE OF PUBLIC EMERGENCY BY HIS EXCELLENCY, DR. JULIUS MAADA BIO, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE. FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE - 24TH MARCH 2020

Fellow citizens:

By the authority vested in me under Subsection 1 of Section 29 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, Act No. 6 of 199, regarding the declaration of a state of public emergency, it is my opinion that a situation exists which, if allowed to continue, will lead to a state of emergency in Sierra Leone.

The Corona virus disease is a highly infectious disease that constitutes a public emergency of international concern that has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

The rapid global spread of the corona virus poses great risk to human life and can cause enormous socio-economic disruption in Sierra Leone. This situation therefore requires effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the corona virus diseases in Sierra Leone.

Now, THEREFORE, I, JULIUS MAADA BIO, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Supreme Head of State, Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone having regard to the threat that the corona virus disease poses to the lives of the people and the economy of Sierra Leone, and the need to take effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the disease throughout Sierra Leone, do hereby, by this Proclamation, declare that a State of Public Emergency exists in the whole of the Republic of Sierra Leone with effect from today the 24th Day of March 2020 for a period of twelve months.

As I have stated before, I reaffirm the determination of my government to do everything necessary to protect the life of every Sierra Leonean.

This is not a lockdown and nobody must use this as an excuse to hoard goods, hike prices, or engage in acts of lawlessness. This public emergency is not meant to make the lives of Sierra Leoneans difficult or unbearable.

We will continue to deploy the armed forces and Police, as necessary, to enforce compliance with all public health directives.

We believe that the actions that we take as a Government, will have an impact for the well-being of our beloved nation.

I thank you
God Bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.

BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY, DR JULIUS MAADA BIO, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE, ON ENHANCED PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES TO PREVENT THE CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19). FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE - 18TH MARCH 2020

Fellow citizens:
Sierra Leone is threatened by the global Corona virus pandemic. It is a public health emergency of global concern.
It is a deadly virus that has infected hundreds of thousands of people all over the world from China and the far east to Europe, America, and some African countries.
The Corona Virus has tested and overwhelmed the organisation, expertise, and vast resources of the healthcare systems of the richest and most advanced countries including China, America, United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain, to name a few. Like the Ebola virus, it is easily transmitted from person to person.
Like Ebola, it is spread through social contact. It is spread through contact with respiratory droplets through the mouth, eyes, and ears. If you have flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, and difficult breathing that last three days, you must self-report by calling 117 or at the nearest healthcare facility.
Corona or COVID-19 is a virus for which there is currently no vaccine. It can even be transmitted by certain population groups that show no obvious symptoms of an infection. Like the Ebola virus, the Corona virus can be deadly.

Now, our immediate neighbours, Guinea and Liberia have both reported confirmed cases of Corona virus infections. The deadly Corona virus is in our neighbourhood. It is no longer a question of whether the Corona Virus will come to Sierra Leone, it is a question of WHEN. Over a month ago, my government began implementing a raft of measures to prevent the incidence of the Corona virus. We have implemented stringent entry port surveillance measures at our international airport at Lungi and two major land border posts at Gbalamuya and Gendema. We have instituted robust entry port screening, monitoring, and quarantine arrangements. I have personally assumed leadership of all preparations. I have visited and overseen the diagnostic and isolation unit at 34 Military hospital; the Lungi International Airport Quarantine facility and airport; and, the Gbamulaya border post in Kambia. At all those locations and at every public speaking opportunity since, I have publicly called for heightened vigilance. Corona, like Ebola, is a highly infectious and deadly virus.

We have three testing laboratories, an equipped purposely built isolation unit, and we are fully equipping treatment centres. We have also approached a friendly government to support our effort with equipment and medical supplies. We have triggered public health emergency measures. We have committed some financial resources to preparedness and public health education. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has activated the Emergency Operations Centre to Level 2 to coordinate initial preparedness and response. We have activated the Emergency contact number 117. I repeat, 117. An associated call centre will process all calls to this number and act on each call and every information received accordingly.

We have streamlined standard operating procedures to cover screening, quarantine, laboratory, and data management for persons from identified epicentres and sites of incidence of the Corona Virus. We have positioned expert contact tracers and disease surveillance units in all district levels. We have implemented handwashing procedures at most medical institutions and urged citizens to observe limited social contact. We have alerted our healthcare personnel and strengthened our healthcare systems across the country. We are determined to prevent the incidence and spread of the virus. But we are also extremely cautious that like Ebola, by the time we identify one positive case, we would have had several dozen disease contacts. We cannot afford to wait for a positive case. We are not going into imminent lockdown. Our actions and the preventive measures we take now as individuals and as communities are critical to ensuring we don’t have to.

This is not a time to panic. I have held consultative meetings with fellow Sierra Leoneans right across board including those persons who managed the Ebola crisis. To my mind, this is a time for close attention to detail, focus, and intense discipline.Therefore, I announce here today additional guidance to citizens in order to further enhance our national preparedness.
1. I have directed the military to immediately deploy to our international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives and advisories.
2. Ministries, Departments, and Agencies are urged to collaborate very closely to support and ensure compliance with all preventive measures we have put in place.
3. All government officials are directed to suspend all foreign travel until further notice.
4. Citizens are strongly encouraged to postpone all overseas travel especially to locations with reported cases of the Corona virus. Our country’s biggest source of threat is persons who have travelled from Corona infected countries.
5. The Ministry of Health has issued a comprehensive advisory for the administration of quarantine for citizens, legal residents, and visitors who arrive in Sierra Leone. We urge strict compliance. These measures will be monitored and continually reviewed.
6. Citizens are strongly encouraged to tell their family members, their neighbours, and other persons in their communities that the Corona virus is already in Liberia and Guinea. It is highly infectious; it is a virus for which there is currently no vaccine; and it can kill.
7. Citizens are therefore strongly urged to avoid physical contact and practice social distancing at all social and public gatherings. This applies to public events including but not limited to football matches, public concerts, social events, religious congregations, weddings, funerals, and other such large gatherings.
8. Citizens with flu-like symptoms, including a fever, cough, and difficult breathing are encouraged to seek immediate medical attention and call 117. Nor peppeh doctor yousef.
9. As at the time of Ebola, good personal hygiene and behaviour are critical to preventing the spread of the
Corona Virus. Citizens must
a. Avoid handshakes and hugs when greeting people;
b. Avoid direct contact with persons with cold or flusymptoms;
c. Cover their noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing;
d. Wash their hands often with soap, clean water, and use a hand sanitiser.
10. Private businesses, public institutions, event organisers, stores, supermarkets, and market women should provide enhanced hygiene facilities including handwashing stations with clean water, liquid soap, hand sanitisers at all entrances. They should also ensure that all toilets and common areas are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
11. Operators of minibuses, taxis, and kekehs are urged to minimise congestion and to provide hand sanitisers to passengers. They are also encouraged to call 117 and report persons who are visibly sick with a fever, cough, and difficult breathing.
12. I urge all public and private radio stations; religious leaders; chiefs, tribal authorities and headmen and women; community leaders; local council administrators and leaders; political party leaders and representatives at the ward, constituency and national levels; and, administrators and staff of educational institutions at the basic, secondary, vocational, and tertiary levels; to continually broadcast and reinforce public health education information on Corona virus prevention including hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and social distancing.

Although there are no confirmed cases in Sierra Lone at this time, we must adopt the foregoing immediately in order to forestall the deadly risk of the Corona Virus.
We continue to actively monitor developments around the Corona Virus and we will announce further enhanced measures including a declaration of a State of Emergency to protect public health and safety.
Fellow citizens, as a nation, we have triumphed together over war, Ebola, and natural disasters. Together again, by the grace of God, Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, and through our collective resolve, vigilance, and determination to strive and thrive as a nation, we will overcome this menace, yet again.
I thank you. God bless you and God bless The Republic of Sierra Leone.

Speeches: 2019

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT JULIUS MAADA BIO ON THE NATIONAL LAUNCH OF THE FREE QUALITY SCHOOL EDUCATION (FQSE) PROGRAMME TEACHING AND LEARNING MATERIALS AND CORE TEXTBOOKS, FREETOWN, 9th JANUARY 2019

The Honourable Vice President
The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone,
The Speaker of Parliament,
Chief Minister,
Ministers of Government
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps
The Honourable Chief Justice,
The Mayor of the Municipality of Freetown,
Heads of International Institutions,
Heads of Parastatals,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Fellow Sierra Leoneans,

Two of Africa’s most inspirational figures believed in and spoke to us through their lives and in their words about the power of education.“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela; “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.Education is the premise of progress, in every
society, in every family” – Kofi Atta Annan. When I staked my presidential campaign on “human capital development” as one of my national priorities, a few, (very few) opposition politicians thought that I was clueless, too daring, and too brave. When I proposed giving every Sierra Leonean child access to free quality education, they pilloried and laughed at the idea. But the majority of Sierra Leoneans believed in my vision and voted me President. This free quality education programme is for every Sierra Leonean. It is not for one region, one tribe, one political party; it is for every Sierra Leonean who wants an education. When I launched the free quality education programme, they did not only wish for it to fail; they engaged actively in misinformation campaigns to scupper the programme. But what kind of Sierra Leonean are you if you do not believe that we must give our children access to quality education? What kind of Sierra Leonean are you if you do not believe that we must give our children a competitive edge in the global marketplace with a good education? Educating our children is not politics; it is an obligation; it is our sacred duty. So to those detractors and those who secretly wish for the Free Quality Education programme to fail, please recognize that the future of our children is above politics; the future of our nation is above politics; By investing in the education of our children, we are investing in the future of our nation. Human capital is the most valuable resource in any nation. When one develops the human being through quality education and training, good health and well-being, and proper nutrition, one develops the most invaluable resource base for generating development and growth.We have done more since the formal launch of the Free Quality Education programme. My government has allocated over 21% of the national budget to education and human capital development. We have fast-tracked much needed infrastructural and sector governance reforms. Our Free Quality Education programme continues to be predicated on its five core elements:

a. ACCESS – ensure that every student regardless of economic status and especially gender and disability gets access to quality education,
b. QUALITY AND RESOURCES -provide adequate school infrastructure, teacher training, teaching materials, learning resources, and training in delivery methods,
c. RETENTION – Keep children in school through student-centered interventions including nutrition programmes, general WASH programmes, community engagement (especially in changing cultural attitudes to girl-child education, early marriage and disability), and strengthening strategic partnerships with donor and international institutions whose programs promote retention and persistence in school,
d.COMPLETION – Implement policies that will reduce drop-out and attrition rates, and,
e. POST-COMPLETION – Provide career and skills-training pathways consistent with the unique development needs of our country.

So here we are again this morning, with a big help from our friends, UKAID/DFiD, making steady progress. We are providing teaching and learning materials including core textbooks, free of cost, to millions of Sierra Leonean children in government and government-assisted schools. For primary schools (English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies); Junior Secondary Schools (English, Mathematics, Social Studies/Civic Education and Sciences); and for Senior Secondary Schools (English and Mathematics). Let us be proud of this moment as Sierra Leoneans and let us celebrate this moment with gratitude to our international partners.

We have eliminated another impediment to learning, success, and achievement for our children. A textbook to a child is like a cutlass to a farmer. Without a cutlass, a farmer cannot farm. Without a textbook, students cannot learn and achieve their full potential. Students from impoverished families or those with differential learning disabilities now have access to the same materials as high achieving students. It also eliminates the need for supplementary learning materials that the majority of hardworking parents could not afford in the past. Now, there is content coherence. What students need to learn and achieve, and what skills they should demonstrate upon completing each module are all laid out. For teachers, the lesson plans set goals for teaching and learning, provide a road map for instruction, and suggest helpful classroom practices and classroom interventions that could help children learn. To my mind, these rigorous standards mean that teachers will now work to improve their instructional techniques in order to prepare students for assessment examinations. Students and parents must also play their part in working to meet those standards.

These teaching and learning materials challenge all of us who have a stake in raising the standards of education in this country. For our partners and potential partners, we must continue to collaborate, sustain, and elevate assistance with the production of learning materials, training capacity and providing technical assistance, and supporting various aspects of the core elements of the Free Quality Education programme whether it be in access, quality and resources, retention, completion, or in post-completion.

To our communities, let us continue to own the Free Quality Education programme and stay fully invested in the managing, supervising, and supporting each element of the programme. Parents have a responsibility to comply with the guidelines set in collaboration with school authorities and the community to care for, handle,
and keep the free teaching and learning materials. My Government has not stopped at the procurement of the materials, we have also put in place arrangements to ensure that the TLMs and Core textbooks are quickly and efficiently delivered to the districts and the schools. We have also put in place arrangements to minimise pilferage/theft. Be warned – anyone found stealing any of the TLMs and/or Core textbooks will face the full penalty of the law and will be publicly disgraced. In order to safeguard and ensure that textbooks are properly used and kept in good condition for at least 3 years, textbook handling guidelines have been put in place. The guidelines cede responsibility to schools, pupils/students, and parents for the use and upkeep of core textbooks provided by my Government. Amongst other things, the policy requires students/pupils and/or parents to replace all damaged core textbooks. The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education will provide more details.

To our teachers’ Union and other stakeholders, let us continue to support the development of the profession and maintain all its best ethical and professional practices. It is our biggest contribution to nation-building and let us embrace the opportunity to serve our nation with pride and dignity. But as a man who has developed a habit of asking questions, I have a few general questions that I want all of us to reflect on and use for further enriching the quality and value of the Free Quality Education Programme.

1. For the teachers and administrators, how do we adapt our teaching of the core textbooks to different learning abilities and styles? How do we promote critical enquiry and exploration in learning?
2. For the teacher training institutions: will teacher training institutions keep the foregoing question in mind when they develop their teacher-training and development curricula? Can in-service teacher training institutions and bodies elevate the quality of teaching through research and adoption of best practices?
3. For our education researchers and administrators – will they engage in periodic reviews of these core textbooks? Will they research, measure, and evaluate the efficiency of the teaching methods and the teaching materials? Will they develop supplementary teacher-targeted material?
4. To our innovators, when can we begin to leverage new education technologies to reduce the costs of producing and distributing teaching and learning materials? Is there a place for digital textbooks, telephone delivered texts and podcasts, e-learning, or other interventions tailored to improve learning?
Let me end by saying that this is another milestone reached in the process of transforming education in Sierra Leone. We will continue to invest in our nation’s human capital development because we believe that this is the most certain pathway to prosperity and development. Let us therefore stay committed and focused on surmounting our challenges, reflecting on what we could do better, and working harder still to make Sierra Leone an even better nation. With this, I now formally launch the provision of free teaching and learning materials in support of the Free Quality Education programme.

Speeches: 2018

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT JULIUS MAADA BIO ON THE THEME: “EDUCATION FOR DEVELOPMENT” AT THE LAUNCH OF THE FREE QUALITY SCHOOL EDUCATION PROGRAMME VENUE: MIATTA CONFERENCE CENTRE, DATE: MONDAY 20TH AUGUST, 2018.

Hon. Vice President
Hon. Speaker of Parliament
My Lord the Chief Justice
Hon. Members of Parliament
Ministers of Government
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps
Your Worship the Mayor of Freetown Municipality
Mayors of other City Councils and Chairmen of District Councils Our Development Partners
Representatives of Civil Society Organisations Revered Paramount Chiefs
Pupils and Students
Members of the Fourth Estate Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

During the election campaign when I promised free quality education, my political opponents said it was never possible and described it as a political gimmick. My political opponents also said, the promise was a political deception just to win votes and the cynics thought it was the usual election promise that quickly disappears
after election results.

In less than six months since I assumed Office as President, we are gathered here today to say free quality education is POSSIBLE. What the opponents described as a political gimmick and a deception, today we are making it a political reality. And, the promise the cynics thought will disappear after election results, today we are here to formally honour that promise. This is a new beginning for Education in Sierra Leone.
Education is an investment for human and economic development. It is a strong pillar for the nation’s industries and also the foundation of moral regeneration and revival of its people. Without quality education, a nation cannot get the needed manpower for socio-economic advancement and an enlightened citizenry. This is why, it is argued that the quality of a nation’s education determines the level of its national development.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my Government inherited an educational system that did not only fail to provide increased access but was also in rapid decline. Whether it was the scene of two or more pupils sharing a single examination paper during public examination or children and parents carrying chairs and desks to examination centers, the poor standards in education became a stain on our collective conscience especially for a country once celebrated for having the “Athens of West Africa”.
My Government is determined to have a break from our immediate past. This is why as a Presidential Candidate, I prioritized Education in the SLPP Manifesto and continued as President during my Address on the occasion of the State Opening of the First Session of the Fifth Parliament. In both documents, education is espoused as a powerful instrument for national development and progress.

As President, in order to demonstrate my commitment to education and in keeping with my promise, my Government has increased the budgetary allocation to education to 21% of the National Budget and several strides have already been made in so short a time to commence the implementation of the Free Quality School Education Programme. However, we cannot do this alone as a Government and that is why we are calling on our development partners and friends to come onboard and support this programme.

My Government has established a Technical Committee to provide the road map and technical guidance to the Inter-Ministerial and Partnership Group (IMPG) on the Free Quality School Education Programme. The committee has submitted a report to the IMPG with recommendations on the components of the Free Quality
School Education Programme (FQSEP), an estimated budget and strategies to ensure efficient and effective implementation of the programme.The first phase of the implementation of the Free Quality School Education Programme has already commenced with additional classes this August 2018 for newly promoted Senior Secondary School (SSS 2) students in all Government and Government-assisted schools.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am also delighted to inform you all that the inherited 6-3-4-4 system of education has been reverted to the 6-3-3-4 system starting this 2018/19 school year which commences on 17th September, 2018. This means, from September 2018, there will be NO MORE SS4. I promised the pupils that there will be no more SS4 and today I have honored that promise.
Mr. Chairman, to help oversee implementation of the Free Quality School Education Programme, various structures have been put in place. These include Ward Education Committees (WECs) which are to be established in all 154 Political Wards in the country. The WECs are different in make-up and responsibilities from the Ward Committees under the Local Councils. They are charged with, amongst other things, the responsibility for monitoring the education sector in their respective geographical areas. Also, my Government has interfaced with our Commercial Banks to address issues of invalid/inaccurate school Bank Account details for early payment of school subsidies before the re-opening of schools in September this year.

Additionally, Lesson Plans for Basic Education and Senior Secondary Education have been developed, so also are structures to recruit and retain support staff to help in ensuring quality service delivery in schools. The support staff will assist in effective lesson planning and delivery to support the progress of all children in the
classroom. Children at their earliest ages should learn and realize the importance of education in their lives. It is imperative on us to show them that Education is the ticket to fulfilling their dreams and having a productive life.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, given the breadth of issues to be addressed including the financial and capacity constraints, the implementation of the Free Quality School Education Programme will be phased over a period of 5 years to allow us to achieve our goal. All Government and Government-assisted
schools will benefit from the Free Quality School Education Programme starting from 17th September 2018. In a related vein, all unapproved schools that meet the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) minimum standards are in the process of being approved. All public schools that are approved and request Government’s financial support will become Government-assisted schools.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the first phase of the Free Quality School Education Programme will consist of the following:
School fees subsidy for all Government and Government-assisted Pre-Primary, Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools Accelerated Primary School Programme for ‘over-aged’ children in Non-Formal Education Learning Centers NPSE, BECE, WASSCE and NVQ Examination Fees for students attending Government and Government-assisted Schools Textbooks in the four ‘core’ subjects of English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science and Social Studies/Civic Education Essential Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) for schools and pupils at all levels of schooling. The package will include exercise books, pens, pencils, chalk, registers, sports equipment, etc.

Making the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) more fully functional Bringing additional teachers on to the payroll Salary increases for teachers on Grades 1 to 6 of the GoSL salary scale Commencement of School feeding for Government and Government-assisted Schools in areas to be announced shortly by the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Supply of some furniture for Government and Government-assisted Schools identified as having the greatest need. This is to be a precursor to more significant supplies in the coming school years with a maintenance regime to be prescribed by the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and Rehabilitation/Expansion/Re-construction of Government and Government-assisted schools and classrooms.Therefore, with this first phase of the Free Quality School Education Programme, I am delighted to announce that commencing 17th September 2018, there will be:
No school fees nor admission fees in Government and Government-assisted schools for Pre-Primary, Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary education Timely fee subsidy payments to Government and Government-assisted schools Free accelerated Primary School Learning Programme in the Ministry of Education Non-Formal Learning Centers Free exercise books, pens, pencils, etc. for students attending Government and Government-assisted schools Free chalk, registers, sporting equipment, etc. for Government and Government-assisted schools Free four core subject textbooks for pupils attending Government and Government-assisted Schools with support from DFID.

NPSE, BECE, WASSCE and NVQ Free for students attending Government and Government-assisted schools More schools in deprived and under-served areas benefitting from school feeding through support from CRS, WFP, JAM and GoSL More trained and qualified teachers placed on the Government payroll Much needed furniture supplied to schools badly in need in all districts Preliminary work on the infrastructure of selected schools in all districts

Whilst my Government will provide all of the above during the first phase of implementation of the Free Quality School Education (FQSE) Programme, it is worth noting that 17th September 2018 is just the date for the start of the first phase not the date on which everything will be completed or delivered.
It is also important to note that whilst my Government will be covering all ‘core’ costs as described earlier, parents and guardians will also be required to show their commitment to the education of their child/ward by covering the following ancillary costs during the implementation of the first phase of the Free Quality School Education (FQSE) Programme. These ancillary costs will include: Footwear Transportation to and from school where applicable Extra/Additional pencils, pens, erasers, exercise books, etc. above the allocation per child made by the Government Optional Subject Textbooks School uniforms Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me also be very clear, parents, guardians, teachers, school heads and proprietors should note that inefficient and ineffective teaching and learning will have no place in our educational system. Whilst my Government is prepared to cover the cost of one repeat per level of schooling (primary, junior secondary, senior secondary), the cost of more than one repetition will have to be covered by the parent or guardian.
This means that, it is the responsibility of teachers to teach properly and the duty of the parents and guardians to ensure that the child goes to school, stays in school for the full school day and has time at home to rest, do homework and study. Subjecting a child to excessive domestic work or sending her/him out to do street trading instead of studying will not be acceptable. Also, I wish to remind parents and guardians that the current Education Act of 2004 makes it compulsory for parents including guardians to send their children to school to receive primary and junior secondary education. The Education Act further provides that a parent including guardian who neglects to send his child to school for primary and secondary education commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment or both. Because this provision in the law has not been enforced, many children of primary and junior secondary age are out of school. This cannot continue to happen now that education in Government and Government-assisted Schools is free.

Therefore, once the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education is satisfied that provision in terms of availability of schools nation-wide is adequate, not only in terms of numbers but also in terms of easy accessibility by pupils, and that all functioning schools have been approved to operate either as private, Government or Government-assisted, the Education Act of 2004 will be strictly enforced.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, some proprietors of Government-assisted schools have been having a field day. Whilst it is true that many of the Mission Schools that are now benefitting from Government assistance brought formal education to many parts of the country and have rendered note-worthy service to the nation, almost all have handed their obligations and responsibilities to the Government. Some of these proprietors of Government-assisted schools do nothing and rely on the Government for everything including construction of buildings, classrooms, toilets, supply of furniture, teaching and learning materials, provision of teachers and payment of their salaries, etc. This cannot continue to happen. Proprietors will now be required to declare their contributions to the running cost of their schools or risk full take-over by the Government. In this regard, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education will hold discussion with proprietors of schools in the coming school year to determine the percentage of the running cost of a school that should be covered by the proprietors.

Also, whilst Government acknowledges the good intentions of many partners, both local and international,communities and prospective politicians to start school projects, sadly these groups and individuals end up causing serious challenges for Government. This is because, they start these schools without any reference to
the Education Ministry knowing fully well that they are going to pass the burden on to the Government and knowing that they haven’t followed the Ministry’s standards or met its requirements for that area. This cannot continue to happen.
Therefore, let me state here that no school is to be established or started without prior clearance from the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. Please take this as word of advice to the many individuals and organisations establishing schools simply to profit from the Free Quality School Education Programme.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am also pleased to inform you all that in order to ensure schools do not resort to practices that will negate provisions made under the Free Quality School Education Programme, my Government has established a hotline at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education for reporting all acts of impropriety by school officials. All reports will be investigated where necessary and appropriate actions will be taken. The number of the hotline is 4060 and it is free.

My Government has decided to go down the path of free quality education because it is no hidden secret that in modern times, educating the citizens of a country will not only serve as a catalyst for growth and development but also as a firm foundation that supports every fabric of society. Education is a fundamental right of every
Sierra Leonean and can bring about desired change and development in both the human mind and the nation. I cannot end without acknowledging the commitments made by our development partners with regard to this bold venture. I hope to see their beautiful words transform into action. I look forward in particular to seeing the commitments of our partners and donor countries already providing support to education in Sierra Leone as well as those which can potentially provide support. I also look forward to seeing what the business enterprises operating in Sierra Leone can do to support the Free Quality School Education Programme.
At this point, it will also be remiss if I fail to thank all those in diverse ways who have contributed towards the preparation and actualization of the first phase of the Free Quality School Education Programme.This is not only a legacy we are leaving for our children but also it is a precious inheritance for future generations.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I now have the pleasure to officially launch the Free Quality School Education Programme, which I believe has the potential to transform our beloved country and provide a ladder of opportunity for every child to unleash its potentials.

I thank you all and may God continue to bless our beautiful Sierra Leone

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Keeping ahead of COVID-19

This rapidly evolving #Coronavirus (COVID-19) has imposed an unsettling, fluid situation on the Education Sector in Sierra Leone . While the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education still aims to maintain a ¨business as usual” approach, we are making a number of significant changes to our operations to account for a situation that is far from normal.

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