The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), Ministry of Technical and Higher Education (MTHE) and development partners have joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Education Day on the 24th of January 2023 at the Atouga Mini-Stadium Freetown.
This is the fifth International Day of Education under the theme “to invest in people, prioritize education,” building on the global momentum generated by the UN Transforming Education Summit in September 2022.
This year’s celebration calls for maintaining strong political mobilization around education and charting the way to translate commitments and global initiatives into action. Education must be prioritized to accelerate progress towards all the Sustainable Development Goals against the backdrop of a global recession, growing inequalities and the climate crisis.
Awards were given to President Julius Maada Bio, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr. Moinina David Sengeh, Minister of Technical and Higher Education Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie, Former Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Honourable Alpha Timbo among others.
Giving his keynote address, Vice President Dr. Juldeh Jalloh regarded the pupils and students as the most valuable asset of the nation.
He thanked the teachers for awarding a President who has invested his time and the country’s resources to deliver education to Sierra Leoneans, noting that President Bio believes that education can unlock the development opportunities of the country.
He thanked the teachers for their hard work in improving the education sector, noting that there is no better time to celebrate such a day than under the leadership of a President who believes in the power of education.
He highlighted some of the efforts made by the government in improving education in the country like inclusive education, school feeding, 22% budgetary allocation to education, increase in enrollment, increase in public examinations pass rate, and achieving gender parity in education among others.
According to the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr Moinina David Sengeh, this year’s theme is in line with President Bio’s agenda.
Dr Sengeh thanked the pupils for coming out to celebrate the day, noting that Sierra Leone cannot become a developed nation without the kids, encouraging them to be change agents in the country.
“We have heard what the pupils have said; we have heard what the teachers have said; we have heard what the parents have said. All we have to do as a Ministry is to express our gratitude by thanking you all. For education to move further, we all have to play our own role, he said.
Representing the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union, Madam Gladys Blanch described education as the bedrock of society and that failing to invest in education is the starting point of the collapse of a nation, therefore calling on every nation to invest in education.
She calls for more professional development training of teachers and calls for teachers’ continual commitment to work in order to address the learning poverty in the country, regarding her colleagues as agents of change.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as the International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education in peace and development.
Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.
According to the United Nations, today, 244 million children and youth are out of school, and 771 million adults are illiterate. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.
UNESCO dedicated this year’s International Day to girls and women in Afghanistan who have been deprived of their right to education. It is calling for the immediate lifting of the ban restricting their access to education.