Historic Passes Validate Free Quality Education In Sierra Leone
The Free Quality Education Project (FQE), initiated by President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, was an ambitious mission many of his critics eh envisioned as impossible. Many were asking where the resources will come from, while others claimed it’s a fake promise. In spite of the criticism, President Bio believed that as a nation, we would only build a legacy for our next generation on a solid foundation of Education. Over the past four years, President Bio’s government has also emphasised the importance of Human Capital Development as a catalyst to uplift the nation from abject poverty.
Since the commencement of the FQE in 2018, the number of students sitting WASSCE has increased by 354%, (from 2018-2020), reaching a record number of 156,231 students. There are now more female students than male students sitting WASSCE, first in recent Sierra Leonean history. In the 2021 WASSCE result, Government and Government assisted schools performed extremely well with high university requirements.
We have also seen a massive improvement in the pass rate. The pass rate for individual papers climbed from 38% in 2019 to 64% in 2021. There is also a marked increase in the number of students obtaining the benchmark five (5) credits in a single sitting. It increased by 979% from 2018 to 2021. In 2021 more than 60,000 students obtained the benchmark score for WASSCE, which is more than the previous 5 years combined.
In 2021, the top WASSCE candidate from a government-assisted school sat and passed all 9 of his subjects. He obtained 6 A1 grades, with an average grade of 1.58, which is something better than B2.
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Government and Government assisted schools performed extremely well in 2021 as well, as three of the top six students by average grade, attended government assisted schools. 67% of the top students by average grade across the districts, attended government assisted schools.
Furthermore, the number of candidates achieving direct university degree programme entry requirements by obtaining 5 credits including a credit in English and Mathematics in a single sitting, has increased by 1,540% from 2018-2021. In 2021, more than 50,000 students obtained the requirement, which is more than the previous 5 years combined.
President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has argued many times that, for the nation to prosper, the girl child should be allowed to go to school by all means. This vision is materializing in the sense that, in the 2021 WASSCE, more females obtained university requirements than males. The female candidates outperformed the males in Mathematics both at the District and National levels.
Going forward, many Sierra Leoneans are of the conviction that Parents, teachers, and community stakeholders should support government in monitoring the progress of this laudable project in the nation’s history. Education is the bedrock of a country’s sustainable development and a catalyst for poverty alleviation. The Free Quality Education Project is paying dividends and the country stands to benefit immensely from it for many years to come.