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Attitudinal and Behavioral Change toward education in Sierra Leone:

Attitudinal and Behavioral Change toward education in Sierra Leone:

What is education?  Education is the instrument for upward mobility in our everyday lives.  According to Webster’s dictionary, education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge.  Education is the key to having a strong economy and a great nation.  Education is the key to success through all endeavors.  Whether it is driving a car or typing on the computer, you need some sort of education to get you through everyday life.  I believe that education means being taught and prepared for the future, it is a necessity for preserving a good society, and it is a never-ending cycle that lasts until the day you die.

Education is a necessity in today’s world in order to be successful.  Education starts at birth.  As soon as a child is born, the process of education begins.  This process runs through a lifetime.  People go to school to get more of a formal education and prepare for the future.  With good education one is at an advantage provide the support for their family and themselves.  Today, companies look for employees with at least one college degree.  Without one, one is limited to certain types of menial jobs, making it harder to support oneself and their family.  Without a sound education, it is well known that one may have to work twice as hard as the person with education, while they earn less money compared to their counterparts.

Limited education could be responsible for a country’s lack of socioeconomic development.  Every country is built on knowledge and education, and Sierra Leone is no exception.  The world’s richest countries like the United States, Japan, and Germany all have literacy rates of 99.9%, while some of the poorer countries such as Bangladesh, and Ethiopia have a literacy rate of less than 45%. Sierra Leone has a literacy rate of less than 40%.  Below are some interesting statistics curled from World Development Indicators for various groups in Sierra Leone.

  • Literacy rate for adults, of people ages 15 and above is 35.09 % and we rank 108th out of 121 countries.
  • Literacy rate, for youth female Literacy rate, adult total, of people ages 15 and above is 35.09 % and we rank 108th out of 121 countries.
  • Literacy rate, youth female > % of females ages 15-24 37.23 % and we rank 102nd out of 123 countries.
  • Literacy rate, youth total > % of people ages 15-24 is 47.56 % and we rank 102nd out of 123 countries.

It is not rocket science to suggest that the facts point to poverty and underdevelopment at causes of for the staggering low levels of literacy rates in Sierra Leone and other Third World countries.  l strongly believe that poverty is the reason for low literacy rates in Sierra Leone.  It should not be difficult to offer some people in Third World countries more opportunities for education, at least by engaging in a massive awareness campaign.  Studies reveal that life expectancy rates increase by as much as two years for every one percent increases in literacy.  This correlation means that literacy rates affect one’s quality of life and longevity.  Being literate has a huge advantage on one’s success, health and therefore longevity. Education opens the eyes and the minds to many things.  In fact education is the starting point on the way to success and therefore a happy life.

While learning is life-long process, formal education should never stop.  I can still vividly remember my parents telling me not to touch the stove because it was hot.  One occasion, I did not listen to them.  One day, I touched the hot stove anyway after my mother had just finished cooking and I received some severe burn.  Naturally, after that day, I learned never to touch the stove again because I got burnt badly.  The learning process starts between the ages five and eighteen, because that is the time one attends to basic school, which is the period of the basic learning process.

When I attended elementary school I learned a whole bunch of things that helped me out to keep going further in life.  After basic school one might want to go to college which is another four years of education.  But if one goes straight into the workforce, he or she would need to learn what to do in order to fulfill the duty of that job successfully.  What I am trying to say is that no one should ever quit gaining an education.  Even when one is unaware that he or she is learning, the process of learning probably continues.  One can gain knowledge from just watching his or her favorite television program.  This can end up being useful in the long run, and may help that person to be even more successful.

Education today can come in a variety of sources.  It can come from music, teachers, friends, television, and other sorts of things.  You gained knowledge on a daily basis, to always prepare you for what is coming up.  To drive a car, you need to learn how to drive it, and so on.  Nobody can just jump in to an activity and start doing it without knowing what they are doing.  You need to be educated on what the task is on hand how to achieve success in it.  You also need to be educated to some degree, just to have a normal conversation with anybody, Sierra Leoneans must now reconsider how they think about education and change their nonchalant attitudes toward learning.  Government, parents, youths, women and men should change their attitudes and behaviors toward learning and education.  If we as Sierra Leoneans are to achieve its Millennium Goal challenges under President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Change we must all help educate each other about education.  Education is a very important part of today’s culture.  Everybody needs education to survive, and to live a healthy life.

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

By Nanette Thomas – National Coordinator and Second-in-Command, Attitudinal and Behavioural Change Secretariat

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