By Sahr Ibrahim Komba
EducAid and other service providers have ended Education Innovation Challenge Workshop. The program was held on 30th July 2022 at Atlantic Hotel Lumley in Freetown.
Education Service Providers met and discussed achievements, challenges and preferable recommendations that will change and transform the education system in Sierra Leone.
They also shared ideas about the sustainability of the project at the end of their three years of work in implementing the Education Innovation Challenge project.
The Education Innovation Challenge learning program is a government-led program geared towards improving education programs in Sierra Leone.
EducAid and four other service providers were selected to run the Education Innovation Challenge project initiated by the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), Dr David Moinina Sengeh.
They were working under the Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation (DSTI).
The focus of the project was for the service providers to bring preferable solutions to solve the issue of literacy and numeracy in primary school in Sierra Leone.
EducAid Sierra Leone, which is one of the service providers, is a UK-registered charity organization working in Sierra Leone to run an education Network of free schools.
EducAid Sierra Leone runs an educational network comprising free schools and teacher training programs.
In an interview with the Country Director of EducAid, Miriam Mason-Sesay said that EducAid has been operating in Sierra Leone for over 20 years supporting teaching and learning.
She continued that they are working with the government to strengthen the government’s effort in implementing education programs in different communities.
She added that they are working with other service providers in implementing an innovation challenge learning program in Sierra Leone.
‘’EducAid is implementing Education Innovation Challenge in the Northern part of Sierra Leone, I like this program because education is the answer,” she said.
She further said that EducAid faces challenges because most of the children in the rural communities cannot access reading materials and the textbooks are not written in the languages of the children as a result, reading is always a problem.
She added that EducAid believes in community engagement as it produces the best result, adding that community involvement allows everyone to take part in education programs.
The program coordinator for EducAid, Joseph M Kai said that there is a need for teacher development activities in rural communities.
‘’We need to capacitate our school teachers, capacitating our teachers will help children in the rural communities to learn and perform better in public exams,’’ he said.
He added that Community involvement in school activities will help to produce good results.
‘’If we exclude the community, the school might tend not to improve,’’ he cautioned.
He noted that technology is important in improving education, adding that the government should formulate policies that will help to retain trained and qualified teachers in rural communities.
He continued that EducAid had supported teachers in leadership and classroom management and that they made significant progress in implementing the Education Innovation Challenge in hard-to-reach areas in the Northern part of Sierra Leone.
In an interview with the Deputy Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Madam Emily Kadiatu Gogra said that EducAid and other service providers have made significant progress in improving education in rural communities.
She furthered that they have helped to train teachers in teaching methodology, classroom management and other leadership training.
She added that there is an improvement in students’ performance in public exams as compared to the past.
The Minister also said that government will recruit 1200 teachers across the country to broaden the capacity of teachers.
She added that the Ministry will examine the report and recommendations and make the appropriate decisions in addressing the challenges.