• November 1, 2023

   THE CONCH I BLOW THE CONCH ON ISSUES: 12 Year-Old Boy Out of School as a Result of Neglect & Hardship What is the Essence of the Free Quality Education and the Radical Inclusion Policy?

   THE CONCH I BLOW THE CONCH ON ISSUES: 12 Year-Old Boy Out of School as a Result of Neglect & Hardship  What is the Essence of the Free Quality Education and the Radical Inclusion Policy?
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By Alusine Fullah

As hardship and neglect continue to linger on school pupil, it has shattered the dreams of many kids/ school pupils. At the outskirt of Freetown, Moyeaba, I met and saw the ordeal of a 12 year old boy, Abass Turay. These days, through no fault of his, Abass Turay no longer goes to school simply because of the economic hardship and government/ parental neglect. He is among the 20 workers, including women and children that continuously sweat it out every day at the quarry. Abass’s life, his frail and fragile frame exemplifies a significant form of child labor that children in Sierra Leone suffer every moment/ hour. In deep tears, Abass manages to mutter to me: “My parents really want to send me to school, but poverty has put the bonkers on it. It sometimes pains me when I see my mates clad in uniform, holding their bags with their lunch packs every day to go school. When I go to school, there are a lot of money collections from the teachers and even the headmistress. So I became pissed off. I realized that no money no education. Our house is just a few meters from this quarry. To make ends meet, I wake up from bed at around 5:30 a.m every day. Without even washing my face let alone ask for breakfast ….I will then take my tools bag, carry it on my head and then walk to the quarry…I am the breadwinner for my family.”  He aims to become a Politician. He admires Obama.

Many Sierra Leoneans are constantly questioning the essence of the Free Quality Education and its twin sister, NATIONAL POLICY ON RADICAL INCLUSION POLICY IN SCHOOLS. On Monday 20 August, 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio officially launched the Free Quality Education for pre-primary, primary and secondary education for government and government assisted schools starting 17 September 2018.

During the launch, he said: “While my government is ready to cover the expenses in paying tuition fees for students, providing textbooks, books, pens and pencils, sports equipment, rehabilitation of schools, provision of furniture, and the commencement of the school feeding programme in government and government assisted schools, we encourage parents, guardians and teachers to show commitment to the education of their children. It is the responsibility of teachers to teach properly and the duty of parents to ensure that the child goes to school, stays in school for the full day, and has time at home to do homework and rest. Subjecting the child to excessive chores, and sending them for trading instead of schooling will not be acceptable. In line with the 2004 Education Act, we will enforce and convict any parent who neglects to send their children to school,” he warned.

Apart from the foregoing flagship, the Ministry Of Basic Education has also adopted the NATIONAL POLICY ON RADICAL INCLUSION POLICY IN SCHOOLS.  The objective of the policy states: “The policy’s main concern is the removal of all infrastructural and systemic policy and practice impediments that limit learning for any child. It is about creating an enabling and inclusive environment that eradicates stigma, harassment, intolerance and exclusion of any kind. Radical inclusion is a process and a way of increasing justice and equity in peoples’ lives and organizations. The policy particularly emphasizes the inclusion of historically marginalized groups: pregnant girls and parent learners, children with disabilities, children from rural and underserved areas, and children from low-income families. It is about creating an inclusive education system that allows all children in Sierra Leone to thrive. It calls for a meaningful and timely allocation and efficient use of resources to create a society in which both girls and boys are given equitable and appropriate support to access school and continue learning irrespective of their personal situation or socioeconomic and other status.

Yes, of all these policies about education, Abass Turay’s about his educational career are still on the gutter. Who will come up and actualize these dreams of his ( Abass Turay)? He concluded by said that if chances are created for his he is always set to go to school. The future of Abass Turay is in your (Sierra Leone government) hands!

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