Kobi Walker becomes Goodwill Ambassador for Educon21 on UNSDG4
SIERRA LEONE, Freetown: The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Petroleum Sierra Leone Mr Kobi Walker on Tuesday at his NP House office was conferred as Goodwill Ambassador of Educon21 for his relentless support in education on the implementation of UNSDG4 for quality education.
Accepting the title, Mr Walker said one week ago President Maada Bio, the Government and development partners celebrated the World Teacher’s Day at the Freetown International Conference Center recognizing teachers and their tremendous efforts in the promotion and advancement of education.
“Education is a human right, which states have the responsibility to ensure. But they need not be the sole provider. Private involvement can increase financial resources committed to education and supplement state capacity to absorb growing demand while assuring standards. While there are various ways in which the private sector can be involved, a strong regulatory framework is vital to ensure high quality and equity, at the same time encouraging investment and competition.”
He said the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4 or Global Goal 4) is about quality education and is among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in September 2015. The full title of SDG 4 is “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
“It is worthy to note that the SDG 4 has ten targets which are measured by 11 indicators. The seven “outcome-oriented targets” are: free primary and secondary education; equal access to quality pre-primary education; affordable technical, vocational and higher education; increased number of people with relevant skills for financial success; elimination of all discrimination in education; universal literacy and numeracy; and education for sustainable development and global citizenship.
“The private, or non-state sector the CEO said, in education can include independent, community-based, NGOs, faith-based organizations, trade unions, private companies, small-scale informal providers and individual practitioners.
Talking about developing country like Sierra Leone, Mr Walker averred that prevalence of extreme poverty, insurgency, conflicts, and other factors has significantly reduced the progress of educational development as compared to many other developing countries in the sub-region. The good news is that, a lot of transformation had happened in the education sector, of which he said there had been more than a 30% increase in enrolment and about 22% annual budget allocation to strengthen education in the country.
“While governments are, and should continue to be, the stewards of education systems, it is important to acknowledge and understand both the potential of the private sector and the reality that the non-state sector is supplying significant education services in many spheres in the country.”
He explained that private involvement in education can help to increase the level of financial resources committed to the sector and supplement the limited capacity of government institutions to absorb growing demand. There is also increasing evidence to suggest that the private sector is well equipped to meet the growing differentiated demands of specific groups, for example, religious ones – even when the state provides sufficient places in public schools and universities.
“Education is a basic human right and governments have the responsibility to ensure and protect this, but the state need not be the sole provider. An education system that acknowledges public and private providers and has accountability mechanisms to strengthen service delivery amongst the various education stakeholders. Governments can guarantee access to education through finance and private provision. Good ideas need to be piloted and subjected to rigorous assessments, the results of which should then be used to adjust programs accordingly and successful pilots then scaled up as appropriate.”
He said apart from providing corporate support to government through funding of educational programs and projects, the private sector has trained more students through internship and mentorship programs. Built more schools and universities over the last 2 decades and provided support to at risk and low earning communities.
“As CEO of NP SL Limited, we have built schools for the police, military and have built good toilet facility for the Government Independent Memorial Secondary School. As CEO, we have also built squash courts at Various Schools (St. Edwards, POW, FBC etc..).”
He said through his support to various educational institutions and organizations in Sierra Leone, he is the co-chair of a special development committee of the University of Sierra Leone delegated with the responsibility to identify and seek funding for development projects and programs.
Many dignitaries including Professor M.Y. Bangura who was the MC, Amb. Alex Bangura, Dr james Matthew, the proprietor of WANTECH, Dr Adikalie Sheku Kamara and Dr Nemata Walker were all present as well as the family of Amb. Kobi Walker. AT/13/10/2021