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As transportation crisis deepens pupils cry over new direction school buses

As transportation crisis deepens pupils cry over new direction school buses

Pupils attending junior and senior secondary schools in Freetown have complained about the school buses deployed by the government to aid the free quality education.

The introduction of the school buses was a result of the pronouncement made by the President, His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio in 20th August 2018 in a key campaign promise during the 2018 Presidential Elections.  

In an interview conducted by this media at strategic parking points of the school buses, pupils of the Annie Walsh Memorial School, Albert Academy, and Prince of Wales among others questioned the number and sizes of the buses allocated by the Ministry of Transport and Aviation to facilitate their movement to and from school.

Mariama Y. Conteh, attending the Annie Walsh Memorial School told Sierra Express Media that the school buses were always too crowded with pupils leaving little or no breathing space for them.

She also mentioned that school pupils had to wait for long hours before accessing the buses and pleaded with the government to assist them with more reliable school buses to reduce the challenges they face.

“Well, I can’t say the school buses are not effective, but they are too small in number and in size; most times they are overcrowded with pupils from Albert Academy and other schools”, Mariama complained.

The procured school buses that have been branded as “New Direction” under the ruling party were not bought by the Sierra Leone People`s Party [SLPP], but rather by the government of Sierra Leone.

According to the Deputy Director of Education Western Area – Urban District at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education [M.B.S.S.E] Frances Nana Kamara, 10 out of 50 school buses were allocated for Western Area. She reminded fellow Sierra Leoneans that Sierra Leone is a donor funded country that is assisted by development partners to fund its programs and the Free Quality Education is not an exception.

She told Sierra Express that more buses might arrive but did not give a specific date of their arrival because there was no evidence of it on her desk.

“I don’t know if this is correct because I don’t have any evidence but I heard more buses are on the way”, she said.

Sierra Express Media attempted to reach out to authorities at the Sierra Leone Road Transport Cooperation [S.L.R.T.C] as they are in control of all government buses including the said school buses, in vain.

By Basiru Bah

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