By Augustine Sankoh
The Millennium Challenge Corporation of the United State of America has scored Sierra Leone 90 percent in Primary Education Expenditures in the Fiscal Year 2021 compared to the abysmal 27 percent scored by Sierra Leone in the Fiscal Year 2017.
The 2021 MCC report shows that Sierra Leone passed 13 out of the 20 indicators upon which governments are independently assessed to determine their eligibility for multi-million dollar grants from the United States Government.
The 2021 MCC scorecard also shows an increase in Girls Primary Education completion Rate from 41 percent in 2017 to 65 percent in 2021.
This didn’t come as a surprise to Sierra Leoneans considering the resources and efforts the government is putting towards primary education under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio.
In August 2018, the government launched its flagship Free Quality School Education (FQSE) programme allowing every child to attend government and government-assisted schools tuition-free to families.
Since its introduction, the government’s combined spending on national examinations (NPSE, BECE, and WASSCE) and tuition has increased by over 400 percent (4X).
The FQSE programme has resulted in a tremendous increase in student enrolment nationwide. The number of learners enrolled in schools increased by almost 700,000 due mainly to the commencement of the FQSE.
The education sector data also reveal a significant increase in the number of schools approved for Government support. 53.4% of pre-primary, 78.7% of primary, 76.7% of junior secondary, and 80.4% of senior secondary schools are now approved- meaning they can receive tuition subsidies, textbooks, and other learning interventions. In 2018, less than half of the schools across basic and senior secondary were approved to receive government support.
The Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) in the primary has increased by 30 and 34 percentage points for boys and girls respectively between 2018 and 2019.
The 2019 school census revealed that schools in Sierra Leone are serviced by a total of 83,054 teachers, 66,501 (83.7%) of whom practice in approved schools.
The support Sierra Leone has got for education in the last couple of years is unprecedented. There are large government commitments, with the largest multi-donor trust fund ever at USD 72million with five major development partners, and now see some private sector contributions as well. Recently, Sierra Leone became eligible for up to a $40m GPE transformation grant because of the work they have done.
MCC’s results framework is designed to foster learning and accountability, and it has served as a model for global dialogue about development results and aid effectiveness for over a decade.
MCC’s Board assesses individual country commitment to ruling justly, investing in people, and economic freedom using policy indicators compiled into country scorecards.
MCC is committed to delivering sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction throughout the entire lifecycle of its investments. MCC’s evidence-based approach is rooted in that mission, and its comprehensive results framework seeks to measure, collect and report on the outputs, outcomes, and impacts of MCC investments.