By Augustine Sankoh
Free quality school education from pre-school to Senior Secondary School is to become a right that is enforceable by law.
That is the recommendation of the report on the review of the 2017 Government White Paper on the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 (Act No.6 of 1991).
The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Julius Maada Bio made this disclosure on Thursday January 13 during the launch of the Government White Paper at the State House in Freetown.
According to the President, there remain significant gaps in access to the essential elements of a thriving democracy – fundamental rights, protections, justice, resources, and opportunities. Moreover, matters of citizenship are not clearly defined and are potentially the basis for exclusion and discrimination.
“The review of the Government White Paper on the Constitution of Sierra Leone affirms the state’s commitment to providing free quality and compulsory education at primary and secondary school levels and includes civic education and entrepreneurship among the state’s educational objectives,” the President said.
The 2017 Government White Paper on the Constitution of Sierra Leone recommended that the responsibility of government shall be to direct its policy toward “providing necessary structures, finance and supportive facilities for education as and when practicable” be made absolute by deleting the qualifying words “as and when practicable”: section 9(1)c.
Government accepts this recommendation to delete the qualifying words “as and when practicable” Necessary structures will involve policy formulation to help the Government address challenges where there are limited resources. Section 9(1)(c) should be amended accordingly.
It is therefore recommended that in promoting the educational objectives of the Constitution, the charge that Government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy and shall direct its educational policy towards achieving “free secondary education as and when practicable” be made absolute by deleting the qualifying words “as and when practicable”: section 9(2)(c).
“This transformational modification did not come about because I, as Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education served on the Technical Committee, it came about because the government under the leadership of H.E President Bio inherently believes that the only way to transform our country is through sustained human capital development and investment in our children.
Access to quality education is an inalienable right for every child,” the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr. David Moinina Sengeh said.