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$23M for MEST – revitalize education, not your pockets

$23M for MEST – revitalize education, not your pockets

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has launched a $23 million project titled, “Revitalizing Education Development in Sierra Leone.” This is a most appreciated move provided the project does not end up revitalizing the pockets of the Education Minister, Minkailu Bah, his Directors, and other senior officials in the ministry.

The project has been launched at the right time when the country’s educational system is down the drain and is in dire need of revitalization. My only fear is whether the project will be used for its intended purpose, and not otherwise. My fear is justifiable considering the notoriously high level of corruption that has diseased our education sector.

  • The project is launched when hundreds of so-called volunteer teachers have gone for several years without approval and salary;
  • when most primary schools are languishing due to the constantly irregular payment of woefully insufficient school fees subsidies;
  • when our university is going without adequate sitting accommodation for students whose hostels are in dire need of urgent and complete renovation;
  • when a large number of our teachers remain untrained and unqualified; when examiners who mark the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) are irregularly paid;
  • when many promoted teachers are yet to be re-assessed and put on their rightful salaries;
  • when learning materials doled out to schools are very insufficient;
  • when our education sector is plagued by many other long-standing problems that keep hampering our much-talked-about quality education.

Is Minkailu Bah going to use the $23 million to solve all the above problems to revitalize education? If yes, then the Education Minister must be joking or making a mockery of educational revitalization. That money is just too infinitesimal to challenge the multitude of chronic problems impeding our education. If all the above problems are to be addressed to revitalize our education, the Minkailu Bah needs far more money.

But money alone cannot revitalize our education system if we do not have the required integrity to revitalize it. Academic immorality has been the root cause of our educational decadence and until that problem is addressed, no amount of money can revitalize our education development.

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