From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, there’s no Junior Secondary School Built at Tondola Junction
By Augustine Samba
Nov 12, 2010, 17:12

Following the publication by the Presidency of the Republic of Sierra Leone, of a glossy magazine entitled “Sierra Leone: The Turn Around: Three Years of Transformative Achievements by The Ernest Koroma Government”, with a proud introductory Preface by no less a person than H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma himself, this newspaper went through the pages and we were quite disturbed at some of what were presented as facts for a global audience including a claim on Page 37 which stated that Ernest Koroma’s Government had undertaken the following: “construction of a Junior Secondary School consisting of six classrooms, Principal’s Office, Staff room, with Staff Quarters, including Furniture and Watsan facility at Tondola, Ngaluahun Chiefdom”.

The above quotation was a total fabrication (i.e: A LIE) as was proven by this newspaper’s investigative team.

For a start, Hon. Monina Conteh and Hon Robin Farley are the two Hon. Members of Parliament representing Constituencies 06 and 07 in which vicinity resides Tondola Junction. They both have confirmed to this newspaper, along with their constituents, that they were very frustrated and perturbed when President Koroma claimed inside the glossy magazine that his government had constructed this supposed Junior Secondary School with stated appendices at Tondola. The two MPs insist that just as the APC Government is now alleged to be overwhelmed with ghost teachers so it was that the supposed newly constructed school at Tondola was just “a ghost school”. It did not exist.

This reporter was recently dispatched to Tondola where he thoroughly investigated the APC’s ‘Turn Around’ claim as published worldwide.

Primary School Children pose with their Headmaster at Tondola for Awareness Times. They need a Secondary School in Tondola.

In an interview with Town Chief of Tondola, Chief Bockarie Foday, he said they have “never smelt a Secondary School let alone seen one in Tondola”. Chief Foday disclosed that Tondola and its surrounding communities has “well over three hundred pupils” in dire need of a Secondary School but who are forced to get up early in the morning and walk five miles to attend Secondary Schools in Segbwema.

Chief Foday also informed that the town had only one school, which he said was the Roman Catholic Primary School. He revealed that they had once been requested by the Catholic Mission in Sierra Leone through one Father Kemoh, to demarcate a land for a proposed Catholic Secondary School and that had been done but he asserted forcefully that no-one from either Local Council or the Ernest Koroma Central Government had ever, in the last three years, discussed or proposed for a Secondary School to be built there.

Augustine Samba & Catholic Primary School Headmaster at Tondola

This reporter also contacted the School Management Committee Chairman Senesie Saffa of Tondola who also told the Awareness Times that they were “very astonished to hear of such an unforgivable claim being made to the whole world”. He maintained that the demand for a Secondary School is very high as residing pupils in that Town face so many constraints but that whilst such a school had indeed been proposed by the erstwhile SLPP Government, it had been shelved soonest this government took office.

“During the rainy season our Children suffer greatly to go to Schools in Segbwema,” he said with venom. According to him, many girl child had become pregnant as a result of the sufferings which they encounter whilst going to Schools located several miles away from their parents. He also lamented that parents hardly visit those Secondary Schools or attend Parent Teachers Meetings because of the distance involved.

For his part, Mr. Lahai Martin Jeigula, the Headmaster of the only Primary School (Roman Catholic) in the Town, said the town deserves a Secondary School. The Headmaster disclosed that one of the most frustrating situations for the Pupils is that they have to always hide their uniforms in their bags whilst walking the five miles to Schools in Segbwema otherwise, their uniforms will get dirty as vehicles always ply the dusty road.

Augustine Samba of Awareness Times poses with the Town Chief Bockarie Foday, Police Sergeant stationed in the town & School Management Commitee Chairman, Senessie Saffa

Awareness Times also contacted police officers stationed in the town who also expressed concerns for young girls and boys to walk such long distances as they opine it was a source of reported criminal incidents faced by pupils leaving their communities to travel several miles to School through long stretches of uninhabited roadsides. Of note is that the Police Officers who spoke to this writer were not informed about the fabrication in the booklet but were only asked to give their views on the absence of a Secondary School in Tondola. It is therefore hoped that no-one will try to punish any of the persons who have freely spoken about the truth when questioned by Awareness Times especially the police officers.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.