President Ernest Koroma has outlined that forty percent (40%) of Teachers are untrained and unqualified; while at the same time illiteracy rates in the country are still very high.
Speaking during the State Opening of Parliament, the President disclosed that 300,000 children within Primary School age are out of school; and that Municipal Councils would be passing bye laws to get children off the streets.
The President further revealed that, “we are meeting these challenges head-on. We have completed a teacher verification exercise to weed out ghost schools and send ghost teachers back to the cemeteries”. He stressed that this would plug leakages in the sector, establish a corruption-free data base for effective planning, ensure proper governance of the sector and position the government to improve the conditions of service for teachers.
The President further told his audience that “we are launching an aggressive literacy program to provide second chance opportunities for education and skills training for our people who could not go to school during the war.”
On the 6-3-3-4 system of education, the President stated, “we are reviewing the 6-3-3-4 system to improve the efficacy, efficiency and quality of the educational system,” and noted that there are no major gender disparities among pupils at primary education level.
The President further lamented that “schools have been poorly constructed, educational systems badly implemented, scholarships and bursaries given on the whim of bureaucrats and resources wasted on ghost lecturers, ghost teachers and ghost schools,” and emphasized further “my government intends to put a stop to this.’
Education, he opined, “is the polishing industry which makes our children glitter with joy and skills, we want our children to sparkle and compete in the world of now and tomorrow, and education is definitely the key to that.”
On the last West African School Certificate Examination, President Koroma said, “this is a serious indictment on our educational system particularly at the secondary school level. My government is determined to get to the bottom of this problem and would immediately set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the causes of the poor performance, as well as other issues affecting the quality of our educational system, and to make recommendations on how to address the situation.”