The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr. Moinina David Sengeh has stated that his decision to provide a platform where students/pupils can check their public examination result instead of using the scratch card was inspired by one his visits to Koinadugu and Falaba Districts.
He made this statement on Saturday 15th October at the Koinadugu District Council Hall during a stakeholders’ engagement held with Commercial Bike Riders, Motor Drivers and General Transport Union, Market Women Association, Traders Union and Paramount Chiefs.
“During my early visit to Koinadugu and Falaka Districts after my appointment as Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, the people of these two districts explained that they were travelling a very long distance to access an internet café at Kabala Town to check for the public examination results. Sometimes, they will spend over hundred thousand Leones on Transportation, and spend fifty thousand Leones to buy the scratch card to check for their result,” the Minister said.
He further stated that the people of both districts also told him that even when they travelled such a distance, they are still unable to access the internet in Kabala Town and they will have to travel back to their villages without knowing their results or their kids’ results.
He said because of the students of Koinadugu and Falaba, he decided to come with the 468 Result Checker platform which every district is now benefiting from.
The primary objective of the stakeholder engagement is to change the mindset and perception of the market women, the commercial bike riders, Traders’ Union and Motor Drivers’ and other groups. These are opinion leaders in their own rights and constituencies and because they travel far and wide, they also have the potential to make and unmake government policies and programmes by spreading the wrong information about government operations which would eventually deter the government’s effort to achieve its overall objective for the promotion of human capital development through the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.
According to the Minister, the meeting will also help the ministry to get first hand concerns from the targeted groups about challenges affecting the implementation of the Free Quality School Education (FQSE) in the school and also help the ministry to better inform the people.
He said FQSE doesn’t mean parents will no longer spend on their children’s education, but FQSE guarantees free tuition, free examination fee, free teaching and learning materials for core textbooks, and school buses are cheaper especially in the districts.
He encouraged the stakeholders to continue to ask critical questions that will help shape the education quality delivery in the district, noting that the government is committed to addressing the issues raised by the stakeholders.
He calls on stakeholders who he regarded as partners to be ambassadors in their different communities to ensure that the FQSE succeeds.
The Minister highlighted the importance of the National Identification Number for students that will be taming public examinations and also encouraged them to be using the 8060 toll free line to express their concerns on things that are happening in the school.
He said Sierra Leone has laid the policy groundwork for education to improve on all fronts, for example the Radical Inclusion Policy ensures the inclusion of girls, especially pregnant ones, disabled learners, learners from remote areas and learners from impoverished backgrounds in the education system.
Stakeholders during the interactive session with the minister, highlighted the challenges the district is faced with in the education sector like the limited number of pin-coded teachers in the district, the absence of school for the Deaf and Doom, absence of university in the Districts, the absence of adult learning centers among others.
The districts’ stakeholders thanked the Minister for his interventions that have deduced the challenges in accessing education, like increasing the examination centers from two in 2018 to twenty-three presently, noting that in 2018 pupils spent two or more days traveling to get to an examination centre to take the NPSE.