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Primary & Secondary Education in Sierra Leone - Evaluation of more than 50 years of Practices & Policies

Primary & Secondary Education in Sierra Leone - Evaluation of more than 50 years of Practices & Policies

About the book

 

This book gives details of policies, programmes and statistical outcomes of Sierra Leone?s educational system. It is important, particularly for policy makers, as it may serve as input to the debate on future education policy development and has the potential for contributing to research literature on implementation of educational policies. Sierra Leoneans should access relevant knowledge of the development of education during the 50 years of Independence which has been lacking and which this book presents. As such, it can also be a useful reference material for college and university lecturers.  

Dr. Alpha Wurie

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone

Former Minister of Education (1996-2007)

Sierra Leone Government

 

About the author

 

Ebenezer Sylvester Olounfeh ?Solo? Collier was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone where he attended primary and secondary schools. He obtained a B.Sc. in Pure Science in 1977 and a Post-Graduate Dip. Ed. in 1978 from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He taught chemistry and biology in secondary schools in Sierra Leone from 1978 to 1984 before proceeding to England on a European Economic Community (EEC) scholarship for graduate studies. He completed an M.Ed. in Curriculum Studies at the University of Birmingham, England in 1985, and then traveled to the United States where he currently resides. In 1999, he obtained another MA in Educational Technology Leadership at George Washington University in Washington, DC. In 2008, he completed his Ed.D in Educational Administration and Policies at Howard University, Washington, DC in USA and this book is based on research studies his did in Sierra Leone for his doctoral dissertation. He is currently an Instructional Case Manager and an On-line Education Programme Instructor in the District of Columbia Public School System in the United States where he has taught for 18 years.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

PREFACE vii

 

FOREWORD viii

 

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1

 

1.0 Background 3

 

1.1 Orientation of Educational Policies 12

 

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 19

 

2.0 Pre-colonial/Traditional-Indigenous Education 19

 

2.1 Colonial Education 22

 

2.2 Post-Independence Education 33

 

CHAPTER 3: TRENDS IN EDUCATIONAL POLICIES 43

 

3.0 Colonial 44

 

3.1 Post-Colonial/Independence 46

 

3.2 Post-Civil War 47

 

CHAPTER 4: TRENDS IN EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES 53

 

4.0 Student Enrollment 53

 

4.1 Teachers 58

 

4.2 Student Performance/Achievement 60

 

CHAPTER 5: CURRENT PERCEPTIONS 73

 

CHAPTER 6: ANALYSIS 85

 

6.0 School Enrollment 86

 

6.1 Academic Achievements 87

 

6.2 Resources 89

 

6.3 Teachers 90

 

6.4 Decentralization 92

 

CHAPTER 7: PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE IN EDUCATION 99

 

REFERENCES 109

 

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PREFACE

Chapter one describes the evolution and orientation of educational administration and policies in Sierra Leone, and develops the theme for the literature review in chapter two on pre-colonial/traditional-indigenous education through colonial education and post-independence education. In chapter three, attempt is made to examine the trends in educational policies during colonial, post-colonial, and post-civil war eras, and the backgrounds to the trends which existed during those periods on student enrollment, teachers, and students? performances/achievement during the past 50 years. In chapter four, statistical data are used to show how and to what extent educational policies influence the educational practices and standards at the primary and secondary school levels. Chapter five presents the responses of interviews conducted with school administrators, primary and secondary school teachers of their perceptions on the needs to improve education in Sierra Leone. Chapter six analyses the effects of the educational policies on primary and secondary education by qualifying the quantitative data given in chapter four. In the final chapter, information is given about the challenges of the educational system, and how it can assist educational leaders in Sierra Leone develop effective educational models.


FOREWORD

Colonial education was instituted in Sierra Leone as a consequence of the activities of British philanthropic and missionary bodies from the late 19th to mid 20th century. It was largely in the hands of Christian missionaries introduced in the form of evangelism and as part of Western missionary enterprise. Such education basically ignored the achievements and contributions of the indigenous populations and for the most part, did not cultivate the African student?s self esteem and pride.

         Freetown became the centre for secondary school education, not only for those Sierra Leoneans of influence, connection or wealth but also as a centre for secondary education for other British West Africans from Ghana, Nigeria and the Gambia. It was not until a protectorate was declared in the hinterland that the colonial government took charge of education as a tool for economic exploitation as well as containing local resistance to white rule. As a direct consequence of the Hut- Tax War of 1898, a boy?s school was created in 1906 in Bo, for sons and nominees of chiefs.

         The policy of entrance by genealogy was vital for reducing ethnic tensions by administering boys of various ethnic backgrounds together. This however fostered elitism and affected access to school. It took another fifty years for the first ?Open? school which catered for non sons and nominees of chiefs to be opened in 1953, quickly followed by Government sponsored secondary schools in Magburaka, Kenema, Jimmy and some other faith based mission schools. Thus at independence, with a population of about 2.1 million, access to secondary education was still very low. The idea of rapid expansion caught on very quickly as reflected in the phenomenal increase in primary and secondary education. This was largely driven by granting recognition to the new schools that were established, by payment of salaries of qualified teachers along with covering operating and development costs.

         Following the attainment of self?determination, policy makers in many African countries expressed disillusionment with the imported western models of schooling and sought to adopt alternate approaches that were designed to promote aspects of education that were of relevance to them. Sierra Leone?s educational development was guided by several comprehensive educational policies and program. Series of educational reforms were undertaken intended to make education compatible with the social needs of the people. Policies were then formulated to overhaul the system and make it accessible to all irrespective of status taking cues from global conferences such as the Development of Education in Africa sponsored by UNESCO in 1961, which subsequently gave birth to the ?Education for All? movement that supported changes to education in Sierra Leone. The establishment of the National Commission for Basic Education in 1993, the 1995 New Education Policy for Sierra Leone and the Education Master Plan in 1997 all have links to the ?Education for All? approach.

         The civil war in 1991-2002 had overtones of anger of young people resulting in adverse effect on the education sector: destruction of school infrastructure, displacement of teachers, disorientation and psychological trauma among children and weakened institutional capacity to manage the system. The reconstruction of hundreds of schools across the country and training and provision of attractive incentives for teachers occasioned the recovery of the education sector. There were substantial legal reforms culminating in the enactment of two Acts between 2001and 2004 namely: Education Act 2004 which replaced the Education Act of 1964, outlining the structure of the educational system, management and control of various actors including local authorities; the Local Government Act which saw the transfer of the management and supervision of basic education from central to local governments, following the revival of local councils and marking decentralisation of education after 30 years of centralised governance.

         Free tuition fees at the primary level and the abolishment of examination fees at the end of primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools sectors i.e (NPSE, BECE and WASSCE) have strengthened both access and school retention whilst provision of school materials have improved quality. There has been movement from a predominantly grammar school type of education during colonial /post independence periods to a grammar school/vocational/ technical education in post civil war era. As we strengthen the management of ?Extractive Minerals? it is hoped that free compulsory primary and secondary education will be with us sooner; rather than later.

         This book authored by Dr. Ebenezer ?Solo? Collier, gives details of policies, programmes and statistical outcomes. It is important, particularly for policy makers, as it may serve as input to the debate on future education policy development and has the potential for contributing to research literature on implementation of educational policies. Sierra Leoneans should access relevant knowledge of the development of education during the 50 years of Independence which has been lacking and which this book presents. As such, it can also be a useful reference material for college and university lecturers.  

Dr. Alpha Wurie

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone

Proprietor

RAMSY Laboratory

Former Minister of Education (1996-2007)

Sierra Leone Government

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