As the Free Quality Education clocks four years, parents, teachers and stakeholders applaud President Julius Maada Bio for such an initiative.
The positive impact of the FQE has created more access to education at the primary and secondary levels.
Eight thousand teachers were recruited and eleven thousand teachers replaced. The FQE has also seen the no payment of school fees; introduction of award for best teachers across the country; construction of more classrooms and rehabilitation of schools buildings and most importantly, free university tuition fee for kids of teachers with ten years of experience.
The service has further seen an effective Teaching Service Commission, free schooling feeding pupils in the provincial areas, increase in teachers’ salaries and supply of learning materials.
Prior to his election into the Office of Presidency by the people of Sierra Leone, during an interview on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Thursday, August 11 2022, President Julius Maada Bio described the Free Quality Education as a huge, ambitious but necessary project for every child in Sierra Leone.
“That is a huge undertaking that is taking a large amount of money every month. We are providing school fees, we are providing core textbooks, we are providing teaching and learning materials, we are providing subsidies to schools, we are providing transportation in most of the cities, we are providing school feeding for most parts of the country,” said President Bio.
After the launch of the Free Quality Education, according to President Bio, the project is a very expensive undertaking at a point when the global economy is facing difficulties, but his government has made a tremendous effort to equip the young people and place them in a position where they will be able to gain employment. “We do agree that most of the youth are unemployed and we do sympathise with their situation and as a government, we have done quite a lot to address that situation among them is the Free Quality Education and which involves technical education as well. It is all meant for them to be able to empower themselves and make them employable,” he said.
He asserted that his government has made access to quality education free so that every Sierra Leonean could be empowered, noting that the Free Quality School Education also promotes inclusivity.
Hence, if a child is born in Sierra Leone today, that child should be able to access quality education free, regardless of the child’s background, gender, region, or status.
“When I promised free and quality education, my opponents said it was a political gimmick. But today, I have proven them wrong. In less than six months, we have shown that free education is possible. I have always prioritised education as a means of development. As president, to demonstrate my commitment to education, my government has increased the budgetary allocation to education to 21 per cent of the national budget. Several other strides have been taken already in this short time to commence the implementation of free quality education programmes across the country,” President Bio said during the launch of the FQE on August 20th 2018.