300,000 children out of school in Sierra Leone
A new study says some 300,000 school age children in Sierra Leone are currently out of school, citing poverty among parents as one of the factors contributing to the problem.
WADR’s Freetown Correspondent reports that the country’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has quoted the figure from an out of school study it launched in August 2009.
According to the study, a huge number of school age children in this country are out of school due to poverty, high cost of tuition and fees, child labour and high cost of educational materials.
Other reasons cited in the report are low value placed on education in some families, death of parents, lack of accessibility to school, especially in rural areas, girl pregnancy, exploitation by relatives, as well as lack of an enforcement mechanism.
The report highlights the urgent need for stronger policies and programmes to ensure that children not only go to school but stay in school, adding that schools must be safe and accessible to all children regardless of who they are and where they come from.
In the wake of the release of the out of school study, Action Aid International’s office in Sierra Leone has begun a big sensitization exercise to engage community stakeholders on the importance of education and the benefits to children to the entire nation.
The forum which opened in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown was attended by parents, civil society representative and other community groups, who are getting knowledge on their roles and responsibility towards Out of School.
They are also be told about the crucial need to ensure that children reaching the age of six must be enroll in school and kept in school.
This West African country had experienced one of Africa's most brutal civil wars in the 1990s.
Foday Bassie Swaray, the District Manager of Action Aid International-here told West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) that the forum was successful as it brought together Councilors, school management communities, civil society groups and a host of key stakeholders within various communities in the western Area.Click audio below to listen to his interview with WADR’s Freetown Correspondent Mohamed Konneh. Tweet