As Sierra Leone is thriving towards achieving the third Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which is education for all, the international community including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave loan to the country but with conditions attached.
As a result Actionaid, a Non Governmental Organization, is challenging the policies of IMF which it considers as flawed.
During the launching of an education study report, ‘impact of public wage bills caps on teacher,’ Actionaid’s country director Tennyson Williams said, “this study collaborates the views presented by Actionaid International ‘confronting contradiction’ and this sought to give versions of the IMF policies that are flawed.”
The country director added that it was true that the IMF and World Bank were concerned about education but that “we should stop paying lips services to them when things are not done in the proper way”.
Mr Williams disclosed that, “in as much as we deliberate with the international community on their policies it will be difficult to challenge them because we have skeletons in our cupboard, as ghost workers are some of the factors that are mutilating against us.”
In launching the study the vice chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor S. Gbamanja, said due to the conditions attached on recruitment he spent 34 working years out of his country.
He stressed that, “Caps lead to poor quality education and the low wage bill ceiling curtail the hiring of teachers by government.”
He maintained that, “the factor responsible for the poor quality of education in the country is also the number of untrained and unqualified teachers in schools. There is need to train teachers because the untrained ones are leading to the falling standard in education.”
“The emergence of ghost workers is also another factor affecting the attainment of quality education. However, if the service conditions of teachers are improved then we are sure to achieve our goal,” he noted.
Professor Gbamanja mentioned that the number of children going to school had increased over the years but that these children needed quality education.
As partners in the educational system the deputy minister of finance, Momodu Kargbo, stressed that the government was going to provide quality primary education.
He added that, “education remains the upper most priority on our agenda and this can be seen in the allocation of funds”.
The deputy minister echoed that to achieve the seven goals of the MDGs, “partners need to be flexible in their policies.”
Mrs Uche Ezerim of the education section of UNICEF said, “Actionaid is pursing a worthy cause as achieving MDG is a UN priority and the achievement of education is UNICEF’s goal.”
She said they were targeting the number of teachers, and that the number of female teachers was their concern as they would serve as role made for girl child