The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has on Thursday 24th August 2023 bid farewell to the outgoing Senior Education Specialist of World Bank Mari Shojo (PhD) who has been working with the education sector in Sierra Leone since 2019.

Mari Shojo (PhD) is a Senior Education Specialist with the Education Global Practice of the World Bank, where she works on lending and analytical activities in Africa Region. In recent years, she has focused on primary and secondary education, early childhood development, human capital development, and skills development in Sierra Leone.

Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked with JICA and universities on education decentralization, school-based management, teacher development and higher education in Africa and Middle East. She holds a MA in economics and PhD in international education policy from Kobe University, Japan.

President Bio has the audacity to strongly believe that Sierra Leone will rise again; and in achieving that, we need willing partners and Mari has been one of those willing partners. We are not only appreciating Mari, we love her as well. You are now a member of the Africa family,” according to the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Mr Conrad Sackey.

Minister Sackey explained his encounter with Mari in his early days as Chairman of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), noting that Mari has been a mentor, adviser and a friend that can speak truth to power.
On behalf of the over 85,000 teachers, over 3,000,000 learners, I want to thank you Mari for your service to Sierra Leone,” he concluded.

The farewell ceremony was graced by senior management staff of the MBSSE, Free Education Project Secretariat, and the Teaching Service Commission.
The Chief Education Officer of the MBSSE Yatta Kanu (PhD) regarded Mari flexibility and understanding as second to none compared to other partners, adding that she has never seen somebody as humble as Mari.

She said Mari helped her office in drafting so many policies that the Ministry is benefiting from presently.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mr. Brima S.T. Kebbie and the Project Coordinator Mr. Ambrose Sesay of the Free Education Project Secretariat explained how their encounter with Mari made their jobs easier and pleaded with the World Bank to send a replica of Mari as her successor.

In her very emotional farewell statement, outgoing Senior Education Specialist of World Bank Mari Shojo (PhD) said she came to Sierra Leone during a very challenging period (COVID-19), noting that the resilient nature of Sierra Leoneans is something that should be showcased globally.

She commends Sierra Leone’s strive in education, adding that Sierra Leone is one of few countries that is allocating over 20% budget to education.
I really want to stay longer, but it is a senior management decision for me to go. I will remain available to render support when needed. You can email me or call my cell phone,” she said.

Mari will be replaced by another Senior Education Specialist who is from Bangladesh.