The MDG’s anticipation for access to quality education by 2015 for all, seem to be a dream on paper for most Sierra Leoneans, as an entire chiefdom of more than 7,000 inhabitants within the Bonthe District is still going without a secondary school.
Sittia chiefdom is located within the Bonthe riverein areas close to the Atlantic Ocean and borders with the district headquarter town of Bonthe. Farming and fishing is their major source of income and inhabitants are mainly Sherbros and Mendes.
Education for children and adults is not available in the entire chiefdom be it academic or skills training of any form for years now, since the war ended and the chiefdom has been neglected and deprived. Some of the primary schools are built with mud and roofed with palm leaves, laments a sectional head of the Sittia Chiefdom James Kpana in an interview with this press recently in Bonthe.
“We the people of Sittia Chiefdom in the Bonthe District are suffering and the future of our children are bleak without education to enable them understand what is good or bad for the development of their chiefdom” said the sectional head who almost burst into tears with disappointment and desperation for a secondary school.
Mr. Kpana also lamented that, the chiefdom can only boast of three primary schools in the entire chiefdom and the available schools lack sitting accommodation, learning materials and qualified teachers to teach the children, noting that most children sit on the bare floor while unqualified teachers go for months without incentive.
Parents find it very difficult to transfer their kids to bigger towns and support them financially to continue their schooling, because the people live in abject hunger and poverty, “Government and NGO’s hardly visit our chiefdom to understand the difficult circumstances facing the people living in the chiefdom” Chief Kpana stressed.
According to Chief Kpana the government continuous neglect of the chiefdom will have severe consequences on the lives of the people and the improvement of their living standards, “is it because we do not have diamonds or other minerals that is why we have been neglected and treated like this for far too long” he complained.
He however appealed to government and NGOs to see reason and provide them with a standard Junior Secondary School and also provide them with basic facilities such as toilets, health centers, water wells and micro credit loans to boost the earning capacity of the people.