The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) collaborated with global organizations to commission 29 Early Childhood Education (ECD) Centers in the Karene and Moyamba Districts of Sierra Leone on December 14th.

This initiative, supported by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), brings the total number of ECD centers to 59, reinforcing the commitment to improving learning opportunities for children in underserved districts, including Pujehun, Kambia, and Bombali.

The newly commissioned ECD centers, benefiting over 2,000 children, feature two classrooms accommodating 35 students each, playgrounds, furniture, water sanitation, hygiene facilities, and solar-powered boreholes. The comprehensive approach also includes the provision of teaching materials and locally made toys for each class.

Mr. Conrad Sackey, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, emphasized the alignment of the ECD program with the Free Quality School Education initiative and the Education Sector Plan (2018–2020). He expressed gratitude to the partners for their collective efforts in ensuring access to quality education for every child in Sierra Leone.

Despite progress, only 22 percent of children aged 3 to 5 are enrolled in early childhood education, leaving 78 percent without these crucial opportunities for cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development. UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone, Rudolf Schwenk, stressed the importance of building a strong foundation for a child’s learning journey in their early years and the goal to expand universal access to quality Early Childhood Education.

As part of the program, more than 11,000 pre-school teachers received training in Early Grade Reading and Early Grade Mathematics Assessment, supported by the GPE. An additional 220 educators are being funded to deliver play and early stimulation activities, along with a curriculum focusing on literacy and numeracy.

The impact of this initiative is particularly significant for communities like Taiama Chiefdom in Moyamba District, which lacks natural resources but considers education as its primary asset. Mr. Peter Yambasu, the Taiama Chiefdom Speaker, commended the government and its partners for investing in education, noting the construction of a pre-school in their chiefdom as a welcomed development.

The commissioning of these ECD centers not only addresses immediate educational needs but also reflects a broader commitment to laying the groundwork for the future success and human capital development of Sierra Leone’s children.