In an effort to promote access to education in remote and hard-to-reach areas, the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Tuesday handed over to government fifty community Schools of three classroom blocks each in Fasewaya Sengbe Chiefdom, Koinadugu district.
The 50-three classroom blocks were constructed in Koinadugu, Kono, Bombali, Kailahun, Kenema and Pujehun and each has an office, store space, water and sanitation facilities, outdoor games materials and a play ground.
At a symbolic handing over ceremony in Fasewaya Chiefdom, the UNICEF country representative, Geert Cappelaere said he was delighted to be an active partner of government to formerly make available the use of the community schools to government.
He told the community that the school belonged to them, and it was their responsibility to ensure that children within their locality were sent to the schools. “our mandate in UNICEF is to ensure that every child in every corner gets access to basic quality education as there can be no better gift for our children than sending them to school” he said.
The UNICEF Rep explained that the construction of the community school at Koinadugu came out of the fact that the district was the most under served in the Northern districts as they face serious challenges in the educational system.
“There are lots of children who are still out of school and many of these children especially the girl child are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation as teenage pregnancy is high in the district and the probability high that a 15year old girl will die from a complication related to pregnancy and child birth”
He explained that some of the weakest areas within the educational system were in the district and community level as the system is decentralized and lacks reliable data at all levels.
Receiving the keys on behalf of government, the Education Minister Dr Minkailu Bah praised UNICEF for their great assistance in educational and children’s affairs. He pleaded with the community people to make use of the facilities by sending their children to school.
Dr Bah told them that he had made a commitment to make a difference in the educational sector and that government has the responsibility in ensuring that the child is educated.
The Minister used the opportunity to caution school heads and educational authorities to make available to children school materials and to stop demanding extra-charges from parents.