UNICEF in collaboration with the ministry of education, youth and sports in Kenema district has
awarded school materials to primary and secondary pupils from various schools.
The ceremony took place at the Holy Trinity Parish hall along Blama Road.
The one-week occasion ended with a procession march led by the Nasir Ahmadiyya Secondary School brass band from the Kenema police barracks field through Hangha Road and Blama Road onto the Holy Trinity Secondary School compound.
The pupils displayed placards some of which read
“early sex is a barrier to education say no to it”,
“marriage after education for the girl child”, and “girl child education is a right give it now”.
Each pupil received mathematical set, four textbooks, one set of uniform, and a UNICEF school bag.
Seventy-six primary pupils whose yearly average hit 85% and above from Classes 4 to 5 and class 5 to 6, and pupils of seven Junior Secondary Schools who scored an aggregate of 320 and above in the (NPSE) National Primary School Examination in Kenema district benefited from the programme.
In her opening remarks the chairperson, Mamie Mary
Moriba, said promoting and retaining girls in school was the key to national building.
She encouraged every parent to make sure that their girls attend school, adding that when “you educate a boy means you have educated an individual but when you educate a girl it means you have educated the nation”.
In his key address the deputy Director of Education
East (DDE), John Amara Swaray, explained about the role of parents as partners in bringing up children especially the girl child in the best way.
He noted that every parent needed to show that they were parents of quality, “which does not mean that they need to be rich or educated. But what it means is that they should be interested in the development of their children especially the girl child in particular”.
He appealed to everyone to be the type of parents who answer questions asked by their children; parents who monitor the type of friends their children had, and parents who check their children’s school books.
Mr Swaray explained that in the olden days a child in a village was the child for every adult in that village, and that it was the responsibility of adults of that village to ensure that the child grew up positively according to the norms of that society.
The UNICEF representative in Kenema, Rugiatu Kanu in her contribution, said UNICEF was very much concerned about the education of the girl child. She said cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriage, early pregnancy and HIV were the leading factors that disturb access and retention of girl child in education. Ms. Kanu stated that, “girls have the same potentials to that of boys,” but however stressed that society sometimes looked down on girls especially in the rural communities.
She pledged UNICEF’s continued support for the girl child.
She therefore called on female teachers in schools to continue serving as role models to girls.