Member of Parliament, Dominic Lavalie Tshombe, who doubles as the Chairman of Basic Education and Senior Secondary Schools Committee in Sierra Leone Parliament, has expressed his disappointment over the poor distribution of the Free Quality Education learning materials and books in the South and East of the country.
MP Tshombe disclosed that his Committee has just completed an oversight investigation, funded by UNICEF looking into the distribution of school materials, and to assess whether the books had reached the intended beneficiaries.
The Honorable MP further revealed that, the committee had during their oversight discovered that the Free Quality Education text books were not properly distributed. He made special reference to Bo and Kenema districts, noting that whilst most of the students in these regions received two to three text books, those in the North-West had received seven to nine text books respectively.
The Committee, according to the Chairman had also discovered that, there is no coordination and working relationship among the various Education stakeholders.
He cited the lack of reporting channels among stakeholders, and said that ego was driving the players responsible for delivering education services in the various regions.
This, according to Chairman, MP Dominic Tshombe, is seriously undermining the Free Education flagship programme of the President.
He urged the Ministry of Basic Education to work assiduously to harmonize and give clear mandates to stakeholders, so as to discourage duplication of functions in the sector.
The Chairman implored all involved to view the Free Education programme as of national interest, meant to provide meaningful education for all children of the country.
The Minister of Basic Education – Dr. David Moinina Sengeh in his response, said his ministry is currently working hard with management to put proper policies in place that will serve as a guide for the smooth operation of the education sector in the country.
He acknowledged the lapses in the distribution of text books in Bo and Kenema, and assured MPs that he will do all within his power as a new Minister to solve the problem.
Minister Sengeh stated that as a new-comer, he also noticed that the contractors that are responsible for distributing books in the South-East had serious challenges, during the distribution exercise.
The Minister disclosed that fire emerging from the trucks that was distributing the books to the South-East had engulfed most of the books meant for those regions.
Minister Sengeh confirmed that sufficient books are however now in their stores, ready for distribution to all schools in the South-East.