Bo Education Stakeholders Queried
The Parliamentary Committee on Education yesterday 17 July 2013 engaged education stakeholders in Bo at the Bo City Council Hall regarding the effective implementation of the decisions taken by Government through the White Paper, based on the Prof. Gbamanja’s Commission of Inquiry 2008, among other issues. (Photo: Chairman Hon Sulaiman Sisay and Deputy Hon Dr. Roland F Kargbo)
Chairman of the Committee, Hon Sulaiman Sisay, said several efforts both in human and material resources have been made both by past and present governments towards the improvement of education.
“In spite of all these, the sector still faces challenges. Therefore as the people’s representatives, we want to ensure, among other things that our children are provided with accessible, affordable, safe and above all, quality education that could match international standards. In doing this, we would also probe into the effective use of public funds allocated at the local level through devolved functions, by the appropriate authorities.”
He said as the visit coincides with the on-going National School Census, both the Councils and the education offices should provide a comprehensive data relating to the number of schools, enrolment rate, number of teachers approved and unapproved, as well as their challenges in their respective localities.
“This is the first ever visit by the Committee to both South and Eastern provinces. We are not here to witch-hunt but to further build partnership with you stakeholders so as you could provide us with firsthand information on which we could base our recommendations for future legislation and policy formulation towards the improvement of our education system.”
Chairman, Conference of Principals, Rev SL Scott-Manga, said the non-recruitment of teachers for nearly five years is one of their challenges – even the replacement of approved teachers is delayed.
“This has created a lot of financial burden on the schools as we have to give stipends to the unapproved teachers,” he said.
Other challenges are the delay in the approval of schools that have met the requirements to be approved.
And regarding the recommendations contained in the Gbamanja Report, he said there is still need for more accommodation of classrooms, more teachers, and the losing of their good students who prefer to enter private WASSCE whilst they are in SSS2.
“The phasing out of the double shift and the introduction of SSS4 also require from the government to make this a reality.”
Worst of all, he said, is the late payment of the girl child support to schools, the proliferation of mushroom schools and the lack of conducive teaching and learning materials; plus, the lack of qualified teachers.
“Two more challenges are the late in payment of food contractors in government boarding school homes; and the payment of support or auxiliary staff in our schools is also depleting the schools account as government only pays the teaching staff,” he said.
Several Committee members also raised concerns about the rule made by schools for girls to pay their tuition because of the late arrival of subsidies. This must stop at once, they said.
In attendance were other educational stakeholders including officials of the Bo District City Councils, Bo District Town Councils, NGOs, etc.
By Elias Bangura
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