School-going pupils of Pujehun have voiced their dissatisfaction with the non-functioning state of the school buses provided by the government of Sierra Leone as part of the Free Quality School Education initiative in the country.

The buses were introduced to facilitate the transportation of students from their residences to school and back, aiming to enhance access to education for all.

Pujehun district initially benefitted from two school buses, which were operational until the commencement of the 2023/2024 academic year, leaving students stranded and facing significant challenges in commuting to school.

Fatmata Kamara, a pupil at Holy Rosary Secondary School in Pujehun, shared her frustration over the situation, highlighting the critical role the buses play in ensuring safe and efficient transportation for students. Since the buses ceased functioning, students have been forced to travel on foot to school, particularly those coming from distant villages.

The long trek, spanning over 7 miles for some students, exposes them to various risks such as road accidents, harassment, and delays due to adverse road conditions.

The lack of transportation has not only impacted students’ punctuality but also their overall safety and well-being during the daily commute.

Despite efforts to raise concerns with relevant stakeholders, including the Chief Administrator of the Pujehun District Council, Sahr Emmanuel Yambasu, no tangible solutions have been provided.

Yambasu clarified that while the council oversees the operation of the school buses, the maintenance and repair fall under the jurisdiction of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA).
The buses’ mechanical issues have been reported to the SLRTA, with payments made for necessary repairs, but delays in servicing the buses persist.

Yambasu assured the students that the council is actively engaged in resolving the matter and restoring the functionality of the school buses.

He emphasized the collaborative efforts made with the SLRTA to address the maintenance concerns promptly, urging students to remain patient as the council is working very hard to address their concerns.