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Sierra Leone News: Failing to strengthened tertiary institutions will undermine the free quality education – Keif Kobai

Charles Keif Kobai, Executive Director of Forward Sierra Leone said he recently raised an issue with the Minister of Finance regarding the allocation given to the Tertiary and Higher Education Ministry. He said with the increase in the number of pupils for basic and secondary education, not much is being given to tertiary education. According to his matrix given to the Minister, in the next three years there will be a lot of students graduating from secondary education wanting to go to higher educational level. “If we have not strengthened the tertiary education system to accommodate that influx we will be having more drop outs. So at the end of the day that implicitly undermines the focus of the President in terms of quality education and letting everybody get access to education,” he said. In an interview marking the end of the Budget Hearings, he said that he pleaded for more strength in terms of budget allocation to tertiary education. The universities and the polytechnic, he said, needs to have more lecture rooms, hostel accommodation and laboratories that can cater for the desires of students that are coming into those different fields. The engineering sector within the polytechnic and Fourah Bay College, for example, will require machinery to teach and train up-coming engineers. Other areas, he added, needs to be improved, but research requires a huge amount of money and the universities are not given high allocations. That will deter them from embarking on research. The plea of the Non-State-Actors (NSA) is that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) should prioritize those sectors that address revenue generation and social service delivery and then the rest of the departments will receive resources that will keep them afloat. There were calls for the MoF to step up in terms of coordination and that Ministries, Departments and Agencies were bashed at for non-performance in terms of service delivery and the deliverables that they committed to deliver in 2018. The reason for their non-performance was as a result of limited allocation based on the approved share that was due those MDAs when the budget was approved by Parliament. Kobai said they have been campaigning and lobbying so that some of the critical ministries most especially service delivery focused MDAs like the Health, Education, Water Resources, Energy that largely address the social needs of the people should be well financed if not they will be stifling the progressive desires of the citizens.

ZJ/3/10/18

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Thursday October 04, 2018.

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