The consensus for NCD to serve as the chair of the Committee and SLTU as the Secretary was reached by members of the Committee amid serious deliberations on issues regarding the falling standards in the educational system in the country.
This IEC Committee is one of four Committees created by the Stakeholders Working Group at its inaugural meeting with a view to helping address the issues and bring back the country’s educational standard to its glorious days.
In his opening statement, the Chairman of NCD, Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo welcomed members of the Committee and expressed appreciation for choosing his Commission to be the convener of the very first meeting of the Committee. He expressed concern over the falling standard of education and noted that the situation needs to be treated with utmost seriousness. He said the Commission takes the situation very seriously that is why all Commissioners and Managers of the Commission attended the meeting to provide the necessary support in order to ensure a fruitful deliberation.
The Commissioner representing the Northern Region, who also doubled as Chairman for the meeting, Bai John Conteh, underscored the need for members to discuss the issues with open mind in order to achieve the objectives of the Committee.
Giving a background to the Committee, Mr. Conteh said the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) and its stakeholders have observed a declining trend in the educational standards in the Country to the extent that it is becoming a national concern.
He noted that there is every reason that if this situation continues, it will not only undermine the credibility of the country’s qualifications but will also have a serious consequence for both human security and the deeper structural development of the country.
The Commissioner further stated that as a concern, the Government of Sierra Leone, MEST and the Office of National Security were detailed to collaborate with other stakeholders and the public to develop strategies to maintain Sierra Leone’s integrity as well as protect and secure her academic and economic development.
Representing the Commission at the inaugural meeting of the Stakeholders Working Group, Commissioner Conteh noted that the Commission was suggested to convene the first meeting of the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Committee and like the other three Committees, the steering Committee, the Legal Committee and the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, was encouraged to hold its first meeting to draft its Terms of Reference (TOR) and nominate a Chairman and a Secretary for the Committee.
He expressed appreciation for the Committee’s decision to select NCD to serve as Chair for the Committee and assured the Committee of the Commission’s determination to commit its effort to the work of the Committee.
The representative from SLTU, Foday Kuyateh, applauded the effort of the Commission for developing a draft TOR for the Committee within a very short period with emphasis on the seriousness the Commission attached to the work. He said the Commission made the work easy for the Committee and suggested that the Committee look at the document and make the necessary adjustment.
Other Committee members equally applauded the Commission for its role in facilitating the meeting where important issues were discussed regarding the problems around the falling standards in education in the country with the aim of addressing them.
In his contribution, the representative from ONS, Mohamed S. Kamara, apprised the Committee with a document ONS did on one of the problems, exam malpractice, which he said might not be comprehensive but will provoke discussions around the issues. He noted that Exam malpractice is just one of the many problems that could be responsible for the fallen standard in the country’s education system and the Committee would therefore need to identify other problems from an institutional perspective so that efforts will be made to addressing them.
The Committee’s membership was drawn from various stakeholders ranging from Government Institutions to Civil Society Organizations