45,000 Out-Of-School Children to Benefit from Qatari Package

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Chief Executive Officer for Education Above All (EAA), Foundation, Fahad Al-Sulaiti, has confirmed to President Dr Julius Maada Bio, visiting the Qatar Foundation that at least 45,000 out-of-school children in Sierra Leone will benefit from the EAA.

He stated that the aim of the zero out-of-school programme, their flagship programme, was to enrol children back to school, thereby removing the barriers that kept them out of school.

A board member of the Qatar Foundation, Dr Mazen Jassim Jaidah, explained the work of the Foundation through various programmes that focused on education, research and innovation. “We are here to support you, your Excellency, with the great work you do in Sierra Leone,” he assured.

Responding, His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio stated that the out-of-school children programme was very much aligned with his vision to increase access to education for children through the free quality education programme.

“While we offer free quality education, we also need to cater for the Out-Of-School Children,” the President said.

He spoke about the various components of the Free Quality Education Programme, which included school feeding, provision of school bus services, payment of transitional examination fees, provision of core textbooks, teaching and learning materials.

The President also spoke about the National Policy on Radical Inclusion in Schools, the first attempt by any Government in Sierra Leone to provide a roadmap for the day-to-day operations of schools and the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education to ensure inclusion and positive experience for all students regardless of their status in society.

The First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio spoke about her various initiatives to protect girls and prevent them from dropping out of school, through the “Hands Off Our Girls” and “Sanitary Pad Distribution” initiatives.

The EAA works to ensure equal access to education and to harness the power of quality education for positive, sustainable, and inclusive change. EAA is the brainchild of the founder, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the former First Lady of the State of Qatar, and a long-time advocate for education.