By: Joseph K.B.Morison, (Heroes Media Reporter Bo City)
As the Government through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education (MBSSE) continues to support and supervise the country’s Free and Quality Education, on Monday 5th September 2022, schools were reopened across the country for the 2022/2023 academic year.
Mr Ibrahim Yahayah Fofana, the Bo District Deputy Director of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education (MBSSE), stated that, since schools reopened on September 5th 2022, the attendance of pupils in schools within the district has been very poor. “Our teachers remain committed to giving their best in making sure that the government’s Free and Quality Education program continues but it’s like the reopening of schools in Sierra Leone is a traditional practice by our school going children together with their parents, that whenever schools reopen, the pupils give themselves additional one week to stay at home,” he said. He continued to say that, every academic year starts the very day schools reopen so he encourages parents to allow their children to be in school on the first day of the reopening of schools.
He said that since schools reopened he has been monitoring schools in and out of the city. “My very self and the free quality schools assurance officers have been monitoring schools within the district but it’s heart-rending to see our pupils being absent from school. The teachers are in the schools ready to teach but who would they teach, when there are no pupils in the classrooms?” he remarked.
In responding to the allegations that teachers with pin codes are involved in the voter registration process, MrIbrahim Yayah Fofana said that his teachers areinvolved in the registration exercise because the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone believes in the credibility of the teachers when it comes to the registration process. On the contrary, he condemned the involvement of teachers in the voter registration process. He said that even though it is a national service, leaving the school and children when the school is in session is a crime.
He reiterated that the ministry and the Anti-corruption Commission would not treat it easy with any teacher, especially those teachers on government pay vouchers who are not in their various schools to continue with their academic work. “Some school leaders had an agreement with their teachers allowing them to involve in the voter registration process, but my ministry will not treat it lightly with any head of school with such a barbaric act on their side” he said.
The District officer has engaged all heads of school to report any teacher who is on government pay voucher who are supposed to be in school to teach the children but are engaged in the registration process. Going further, he said that 80% of their schools are being used by the electoral commission as registration centres. However, he said, that may not disturb the intensity of the academic sphere.
He affirmed that the staff of ECSL in the various schools were called to a meeting. In the said meeting, they all agreed on the following resolutions: They should maintain quietness during school hours; no school furniture is to be used or removed from the classrooms by any ECSL staff or the community people and they should not allow any pupil who is in his/her school uniform at the registration centre.
On the part of the school supervisor, now quality assurance officers, he said the education directorate from the headquarters (HQ) called all sixteen (16) districts’ Deputy Director of Education to a seminar in Makeni, the northern part of Sierra Leone. Mr. Fofanaconfirmed that in that seminar they were told and agreed that, the school quality assurance officers will now move from their supervisory role which they have been doing to a new role which is a problem-solving role.
According to him, supervising role is a process wherein a school supervisor will go to a school under his jurisdiction to see that all school documents including schemes of work, lesson plans and notes are prepared by the school teachers, while a problem-solving role is an activity that a school supervisor or a school quality assurance officer will do whenever he or she visits a school. In this case, they will now sit with a teacher to check all his or her school’s document, and if they find out that, the documents are not accordingly prepared, the supervisor will not take the problem to their respective district office but will help solve the problem and teach the defaulted teacher how to do proper documentation of the school records.
Mr. Fofana concluded that this particular academic year, he and his school quality assurance officers are determined to see that Bo District which has been over the years performing poorly in all of the public exams do well this year.
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