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Sierra Leone Business: Education Trade Fair officially opens

The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education in collaboration with Heal Sierra Leone and the Education Microscope Newspaper on Friday 14 September 2018 officially opened the education trade fair at the Miatta Conference Centre. This is the third education trade fair, organised by Heal Sierra Leone under the theme “the importance of free quality education to national development.” The objective of such a fair is to create a one stop shop where parents can buy school items on cost recovery basis and also serves as an entertainment platform for school going children during the vacation. The market prices of books, pens, pencils, uniforms and a lot of other items normally rise when school is about to reopen and according to a booth owner at the trade fair Alpha Turay “even though we are not recording the amount of sales we were expecting but overall business is going smooth.” He said their prizes are well affordable compared to traders outside of the fair. The chairperson of the launching, Mrs Beckley noted that “education is a silent weapon that has positive impact towards nation building. We have been working for free quality education for a very long time.” She stressed that education is a driving force for economic transformation, which provides opportunities for skills development, adding that it is a bold step taken by the president to prioritise education and allocate 21 % of the country’s economy to the process. The Executive Director of Heal Sierra Leone Joseph Sannoh outlined the importance of the fair, key amongst which is the educational platform that it creates for both pupils and students. He said pupils can learn about different organisations, and institutions with regards to how to operate and their mandate.  Sandi Vandi a representative of the correctional service booth, where different sets of uniform are sold, said “our prices for uniform are very affordable, as you can see, some of our uniforms are going for Le 20,000 and the most expensive one’s are being sold for Le65, 000.”  He said they are doing such in order to boost the free quality education.  In his keynote address the Minister of Basic and Senior School Education Alpha Timbo said Heal Sierra Leone is one of the civil society organisations they consulted in order to see that the free education is successful. He said apart of criticising government, CSO’s should also compliment the effort of the government. He said one of the key objective of the fair is to help popularise the free quality education, he stressed that “we are going to make good use of the opportunity in order to tailor the free quality education message.” There are over ten institutions or businesses at the trade fair, amongst which is Focus 1000, IMATCH, Correctional Service and many others. and the star prize for this year’s quiz competition is a brand new car.

By Mohamed J. Bah

Monday September 17, 2018.

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