A financing agreement between the European Union and the Government of Sierra Leone was signed in 2016 to work alongside the Free Quality School Education initiative, to improve the quality of teaching and learning of children in the country. The EU – funded programme Support to the Education Sector in Sierra Leone (SESSiL) started in 2017 with a funding package of 29 million Euros, focusing primarily on:
• Strengthening the education system management to improve equity and quality.
• Improving primary school teaching and learning.
• Improving equitable access to secondary education.
Scheduled to end in December 2020, the SESSiL programme has provided financing and technical assistance to numerous activities aimed at achieving the goals above. On the 20th February 2020, the SESSiL Program delivered 18 motorcycles and 12 Toyota Land Cruisers to the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. Valued at a total of €496,800, the vehicles were handed over at a ceremony attended by representatives of the EU and other donor partners, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) and the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education (MTHE).
Representing the European Union, Mr. Pierre Henri noted that the vehicles reflect the EU’s commitment to the development of the education sector in Sierra Leone. He added that they should be regarded as tools in the achievement of the country’s education goals. Receiving the vehicles, the Minister of the MBSSE Dr David Sengeh expressed gratitude for the EU’s support and promised that the vehicles would be used to facilitate the work of the Ministry. “Our clients are the children of Sierra Leone,” he said. “Beyond these vehicles, I want to commit my staff to the delivery of our responsibilities as a ministry.”
Statements were followed by a symbolic ribbon cutting performed by the Minister of MTHE Professor Aiah Gbakima, the Minister of the MBSSE Dr David Sengeh and Permanent Secretary Mr. David Banya, who also chaired the handing over event. Dr. David Sengeh officially declared the vehicles property of the MBSSE by starting one of the Land Cruisers.
Some of the vehicles have been assigned to field projects under the Support to the Education in Sierra Leone programme and coordinated by the National Authorizing Office (NAO). On the 15th November 2019, the MBSSE received Bills of Quantities and technical architectural drawings for the rehabilitation of 100 primary and secondary schools in Bombali, Port Loko, Bo and Kenema districts. With rehabilitation work set to start in the coming weeks, 8 motorcycles and 2 Land Cruisers will be deployed in the supervision of the work, much of which will take place in remote and difficult to reach areas.
In September 2019, SESSiL supported a series of capacity building workshops geared towards improving the monitoring and evaluation of schools in four target districts – Bo, Kenema, Port Loko and Bombali – and increasing the quality of teaching and learning in targeted schools. According to staff from the District Education Offices, a key challenge to effective monitoring has been the lack of proper transportation between the offices and the schools in their districts. To this end, each of the four District Education Offices will receive a motorcycle. Each of the assigned District Council Offices will also receive motorcycle.
Other vehicles will go to the Ministry’s Programme Coordination and Compliance Unit (two motorcycles and two Land Cruisers) and the Ministry’s Directorate of Planning and Policy (four Land Cruisers.) These will assist in the Ministry’s continuing drive towards school field supervision and management.