From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Commission of Inquiry on Poor Educational Standard set up in Sierra Leone
By Aruna Turay
May 22, 2009, 17:20

Expressing concern over the poor state of the country’s educational standard as evident in students coming up with bad results in both local and international examinations, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Wednesday 21st May 2009, administered the oath of office to a six man team forming a commission of inquiry entrusted with the responsibility of investigating the causes of the decline in the educational standard in Sierra Leone. The well attended ceremony was held at State House in Freetown.

Introducing the Commissioners to the President, Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah, said the setting up of the Commission is mainly due to the poor performance of schools country wide, in internal and external examinations, with particular reference to the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The Commission’s terms of reference, the Minister went on, includes investigating and identifying the reasons for the poor performance of pupils in the 2008 BECE and WASSCE in Sierra Leone; particularly the role played by school environments, home environments, the curriculum, teachers and their attitudes and methodologies towards their job, teachers’ motivation, pupils’ preparedness, class sizes, the two-shift system, tertiary institutions (University of Sierra Leone, Njala University, Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, Northern Polytechnic, Eastern Polytechnic, Freetown Teachers College, Port Loko Teachers College etc).

The Commission will also look at the roles played by proprietors of schools, head teachers/principals, Ministry of Education officials, social factors and other related issues.

Hon. Minkailu Bah further informed that the Commission is also entrusted with the responsibility to ascertain the impact of the 6-3-3-4 system, the performance of the pupils comparing it with the experience of other countries that have adopted the same system, investigate the causes of indiscipline in secondary schools, recommending immediate, short, medium, and long term measures to improve and sustain pupils’ performance in the BECE and WASSCE in Sierra Leone and above all, to ensure the eradication of indiscipline in schools.

Administering the oath of office to the Commissioners of what is going to be the ‘Professor Gbamanja Commission of Inquiry’, President Ernest Bai Koroma emphasised that he is very much concerned, and would like the Commission to unearth the problems surrounding what he calls the poor secondary school examination results which he noted are in turn transferred to higher institutions of learning.

After performing the oath of office, President Koroma congratulated the Commissioners on their appointment, pointing out that it is a call to national duty and development. He noted that although the task is enormous, the Commissioners should work hard to actualise what he referred to as a strategic move aimed at rescuing the country’s education standard.

The President informed the Commissioners that the future of our children depends largely on what the Commission will recommend at the end of its work.

He maintained that his government has plans to review the 6-3-3-4 system of education, and acknowledged the fact that tough decisions have to be taken to tackle the problems

affecting education in the county.

In response, the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Sahr Philipson Thomas Gbamanja, thanked the President for the confidence reposed in them, saying that though it is an enormous task they are determined to succeed.

He intimated that the 6-3-3-4 system has never succeeded anywhere in Africa, adding that they hope to visit those countries where it is currently being used.

The Professor assured the President that the Commission will ensure that all the Terms of Reference will be adequately looked into and a report given within the shortest possible time.

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