His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has warned that transforming education is not cheap but that his government is making gains.
He was speaking at the National Education Sector Plan 2022-2026 with the theme: “Transforming Education for All”.
He said: “I am truly elated that we are gathered here to formally present a full-bodied plan of our vision for education in Sierra Leone over the next five years. This is the fourth education sector plan developed in Sierra Leone since 2007. But this one is firmly situated within the vision we established in the New Direction manifesto for transforming education in Sierra Leone and is anchored in the work of the last four years. This one is developed by us, for us, and our national development,” he assured.
“We already know the impact of education as a cross-cutting driver for inclusive and sustainable development. Nations that have achieved rapid and sustainable economic growth have done so by developing the most productive resource in any nation: human capital. That is why we have predicated our development agenda on delivering human capital development, free quality education, affordable and quality healthcare, and food security,” he said.
President Bio made reference to the fact that his government, since 2018, had re-established and staffed a new curriculum and research department, which had created a new Early Childhood Development curriculum, Basic and Senior Secondary curriculum, and developed learning materials between 2018 and 2022.
“We have recruited, promoted, and replaced more teachers than ever before in the history of this country. There are now more female teachers and a higher proportion of female teachers than ever before. There are also more special education teachers. My government has paid teachers more than any government has in the history of this country. Despite financial constraints, my government was one of the very few in the entire world to increase teacher salaries even in the middle of COVID-19.
“With partners, including the European Union, British Government, the US Government through the USDA, Qatar, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, Global Partnership in Education, the World Bank, and contributors to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, we have raised substantial funds to support our work on transforming education in Sierra Leone. There is a significant funding gap, and we are hopeful that our development partners can work with us to close that gap,” he stated.