The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Melrose Karminty, who is currently the Acting Minister of the said Ministry has described Paramount Chiefs as bedrock to development of Sierra Leone.

Madam Karminty made this description during the national dialogue session with all Paramount Chiefs in Sierra Leone on the Free Quality School Education Program that was Organized by her Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education in Bo.

” We believe that Paramount Chiefs who are the heads of Chiefdom Administrations are the foundation upon which any development should stand.In other words, you should be considered as the bedrock to development programmes at the local level which is why the New Direction Administration of President Bio has always recognized you as such. In that regards, we are here today to have a frank talk with you on the Free Quality School Education Program which is the flagship program of our Government,” she announced.

Madam Karminty also disclosed that the meeting was to appeal to the Paramount Chiefs to claim ownership of the Free Quality School Education Program by providing effective monitoring for same in their respective Chiefdoms.

She ended up encouraging the Chiefs to feel free in discussing what they thought had been challenges against the said flagship program in their Chiefdoms and to proffer solutions to those challenges.

In his statement, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David M. Sengeh, said the meeting was to discuss with the Paramount Chiefs the progress made so far in the Free Quality School Education, highlight the challenges and to find possible ways of tackling the said challenges.

He highlighted areas where the Government has intervened in its quest to improve quality education including the over three hundred classrooms it has built across the country and five hundred more to be built in the next couple of years, approval of about two thousand schools within the last two years, employment of 12000 teachers and on the verge of employing about 1200 more teachers by September, payment of school fees, provision of learning materials and school feeding for schools in certain Chiefdoms across the country, amongst many others.

He appealed to the Paramount Chiefs to take ownership of education in their Chiefdoms by providing adequate and timely report on same. He ended up by sending the 190 Chiefs into jubilant mood when he announced that the Government has decided to provide one tablet for each Paramount Chiefs to help them monitor and report on education in their Chiefdoms.

In his short statement, Pro. Alpha T. Wurie, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education described the meeting as a special occasion because it saw the presence of the 190 Paramount Chiefs across the country, which he said is a testament that the Government holds Paramount Chieftaincy in high esteem. He urged the Chiefs to take ownership of the Free Quality School Education Program by providing effective monitoring and report on same.

The session saw statements of appreciation from the National Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs and other Government stakeholders including the Resident Minister of the Southern Region, Permanent Secretary, Director of Local Government and Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.