As Sierra Leone joins the world over to celebrate the International day of literacy with the theme “read and write for long life”, PADECO and Action Aid Sierra Leone has revealed that the Government does not allocate adequate funds for non-formal education which is largely responsible for the high rate of illiteracy among women in the country.
Making this disclosure during a symposium to mark the International Literacy day at the YMCA Brookfields in Freetown, the Education Coordinator at Action Aid Sierra Leone Madiana Samba said that Literacy policies commonly suffer from lack of financial, material and human resources to promote adult literacy education.
She added that, there are also positive trends in the growing involvement of NGOs, civil society organizations and local communities in promoting literacy in the country and expressed the need for more initiatives proposing literacy programmes and services, as there is a great need to make these developments and initiatives better.
Madam Samba noted that one in five young people and adults do not possess the most elementary skills required to read a street sign, books, newspapers, names on a voting ballot or instructions on a medicine bottle. She further highlighted Action Aids activities in the country which includes reflect methodology on literacy, women’s right and empowerment and democratic governance in the country.
She maintained that adult literacy is not considered as belonging to the education sector as it is often shared out among ministries which accounts for the low funding for adult literacy programmes and non formal education. Non-formal education, which includes adult literacy programmes, rarely receives more than 5 per cent of national education budgets she said.
PADAECO Coordinator in Sierra Leone Peter O Koroma spoke about the need to improve on the efficiency, accountability, transparency and good governance to help develop educational systems and alternative delivery forms, that are not only adapted to their socio-cultural contexts, but also can proactively respond to the diverse and continuously changing needs of learners and the society.
Mr. Koroma noted that they are developing various education levels while achieving the Education for All goals requires linking up with broader economic and social development frameworks and longer-term sustainability, as it also demands increased institutional capacities for the coordination and harmonization of development partners.
“Sector-wide approaches have been introduced to increase the predictability of financial flows and to improve donor support to national education programmes” he stressed.
He maintained that there is a serious risk of not achieving Education for All by 2015, despite commitment to international treaties and declarations by most of its countries, all education indicators are below and that most children, more often girls, are still deprived of the right to education in the country.
The PADAECO coordinator reiterated the significance of Literacy which is a prerequisite for basic education, lifelong learning, people’s empowerment, good governance and sustainable development of communities and the country as a whole.
Dominic John Sivo chaired the symposium program, while an official of the Ministry of Education and Moses Ogondeh Kamara Chairman Education for All also made similar statements on the need for Government to allocate funds for Non formal education.
Distribution of certificates of merit to deserving learners of adult education by the institute of Sierra Leonean Languages and exhibition of adult education learning materials formed a high point of this year’s celebration of the International literacy day in Sierra Leone by Government and other partners in the educational sector.
By Saidu Bah