Today I have decided to look at the 2018 SLPP manifesto on education.

The SLPP manifesto has this to say, “For the APC government, education is not a right but a privilege.”

The manifesto further that for the New Direction to succeed, Sierra Leone needs a new education model that priorities free education and primary and secondary school levels, science and technology, skills training and development and social enterprise.

In addition, the 2018 SLPP manifesto described the then APC education system as unsuitable to the development demands of the country in the 21st century, stressing that the current education system continues to produce more and more graduates, who are unemployed, cannot find relevant jobs, not able to integrate themselves into the labour market and1 the emerging knowledge-based economy.

The 2018 SLPP manifesto continued to lambast the APC by stating that, “This APC Government’s efforts to improve education have largely focused on hunting down ghost teachers and early childhood education has been slapped on to the back of a new 6-3- 4-4 system which now replaces the 6-3-3-4.”

The SLPP further alleged in their manifesto that, “The education system has been completely politicised. Employment, promotion of teachers and lecturers and even recruitment of students in tertiary institutions and award of grants have been biased in favour of persons perceived to be APC members or supporters”

My question regarding this is that has this grim picture painted by the SLPP 2018 manifesto changed under the new direction or have teachers not been recruited and promoted on partisan basis?

*New Direction*
The primary objective of the New Direction is to increase access to quality pre-primary, primary, secondary, technical, and vocational education, and training as well as university education that will enable them to engage in meaningful productive economic activity.

Also, the New Direction education policies will focus on education governance and financing, human resource management, teaching, primary and secondary school management and supervision, TVET and university education.

Education Governance

The SLPP promised in their manifesto to “Revert from 6-3-4-4 system of education to the 6-3-3-4 with focus on improving learning and teaching and providing for those who cannot pursue university education and implement and fund a new Free Education Programme for primary and secondary levels.”
From the backdrop of what was prevailing under the APC regime, I think the Paopa SLPP government good work should be acknowledge on this area.

I know many people including many opposition members describe the Free Quality Education as without quality, but the mere fact it has been introduced and pursued for the past almost five years is plausible.

I know the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has introduced and implemented many policies aiming to improve the education system, such as reviewing and standardizing the curriculum, granting autonomy, and empowering District Councils to supervise TVET to enable the central government focus on governance and policy particularly through implementation of new programmes.

I also believe that the government has built or is building the capacity of the school management committees through training etc.

The government has proudly increased government budgetary allocation and disbursement from less than 15% to 20% of GDP in line with the Education for All (EFA) target Develop a new policy and legal framework to attract additional donor and private sector investment in education.

I think this and other achievements I didn’t mention here are huge success for the government as far as their 2018 manifesto on education is concern.

Provide sponsorship to students to access higher education through the effective management of the Grants-in-Aid policy and introduce Students Loan Scheme.

I have heard about the following and it is good for our people, “Promote Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) by mainstreaming nursery and kindergarten education into the national education system, training of teachers and encouraging the private sector to participate in providing nursery and kindergarten education”

Despite the delivery of the 2018 SLPP promises on education as espoused in their manifesto, I like to ask about the following promises on the same manifesto:

For the past almost five years in governance did the Paopa SLPP Build staff quarters and embark on long-term housing scheme for teachers?

If yes then good, but if no, why?

Has this promised being delivered “Provide free university education for three children of every schoolteacher with at least 10 years’ teaching experience” by the government?

What about this promise by the SLPP government, “Establish teacher training campuses/colleges in all district capitals Expand and improve on distance learning education for teachers?

Additionally, the 2018 Manifesto promised this, “Build and support at least one primary school in every administrative section in every district, at least a Junior Secondary in every administrative chiefdom or electoral ward and at least a Senior Secondary School equipped with a science laboratory in every electoral constituency” Did you deliver this promise?

I am passionate and curious about this promise in particular where the 2018 SLPP Manifesto stated, “Construct student hostels for at least 500 pupils attending different schools in every district headquarter towns and support schools with boarding facilities.”

Have these student hostels been built in the country’s district hheadquarterstowns?

It is on this note I say the SLPP government largely respected their 2018 manifesto promise on education.
I rest my case.