Education.Org, a global foundation for education, has met with the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh in Paris, France. Minister Sengeh shared Sierra Leone’s experience on Accelerated Education Programme and other interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Present at the engagement was the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Brussels and Parmanent Representative to UNESCO, H.E Samuel Tamba Musa and Co-Chair of Education.Org, Deng Yai, former Education Minister of South Sudan.
Chief Executive Officer and Founder Dr Randa Grob-Zakhary said that their foundation enable leaders to have access to information and helps them to work on their objectives and institute their priorities.
She added that on the education system, one of the topics that come into focus is the COVID recovery accelerated education “and the Minister has shown interest in that and we are happy to explore what Sierra Leone can contribute with its vast experience”.
Dr. Randa further revealed that they have been using “social media consultations, even though there were only a handful of AEPs that were developed before COVID”, emphasizing that they were more interested in “what can be done and not just how”. She further added that inclusivity, accessibility and use of evidence are the main drivers of the foundation.
Dr Suzanne Grant Lewis, Chair of Education Science and Policy, in her remarks said the mission of the foundation is to address the evidence gap between what they know and what they do.
Speaking about the meeting with the Minister, Dr Lewis maintained that, “Dr Sengeh is passionate about the use of evidence and data in decision making and he is deeply committed to learning from others. He values exchanges with other Ministers and other decision makers.”
She disclosed that Minister Sengeh has helped provide valuable information for her organization which they feed into their Education data to produce a white paper helping to bridge the knowledge gap between those who produce and those that have to use knowledge such as policy makers. “We know he is very committed to this whole mission”.
Also, they engaged the Minister on the issue of the Global Council, a Council comprising members from across the world, tasked with making decisions about education and the need to use evidence for that purpose.
On the issue of Sierra Leone’s progress in the education sector post ebola to date Dr. David Moinina Sengeh disclosed that on the Accelerated Education Programe, one thing that always comes to mind is the transition of pupils from one level to another as Sierra Leone has nine years of basic education with mandatory transition exams at every stage.
The Minister spoke about some of the changes that the country has made in the area of improving education- post ebola with the closure of schools for nine months and an addition of an extra year so kids then spent four years in secondary which had lot of negative implications. “we removed that system three years ago; now in basic secondary they have to spend three years. It was important for us that that transition happens”.
Although radio teaching programs were used during the post ebola, “but this time we use the community radios which goes to wider places and we compliment that with provision of the physical material”.
An Emergency Education Taskforce was set up to deal with the private welfare of pupils, revealing that “with the fire incident in Wellington the team is immediately looking at the educational welfare to provide for the kids that were affected”