As part of their drive in improving quality education in Sierra Leone, EducAid Sierra Leone in collaboration with NYAF has organized and hosted the first DSTI HCD- Education Innovation Challenge (EIC) implementing partners learning workshop.
The training which came after one year of intervention by 5 education partners took place at Sierra Palms Hotel, Aberdeen on Wednesday 12th August were partners shared their experiences, leart from each other on how to make it better.
Head of EducAid, Madam Miriam Mason Sesay reflected on the launch of Education Innovation Challenge by the Minister of Basic Education, David Moinina Sengeh and the Director of Science, Technology and Innovation last summer.
The team was trying to assess improvement in schools during their closure, what were their different interventions, how they adjusted during the Covid-19, what were their challenges, what are their recommendations and what learning they have undergone that they want to pass on to any future school improvement program.
Madam Sesay disclosed that EIC is an experiment level with 170 schools, noting that next year it will be a bigger pilot with 550 schools and if it’s successful, it will be rolled out in the entire country to improve the quality of education.
She pointed out that the gathering of the 5 partners showed that there is no more competition as they are united to learn from each other in order to achieve one goal.
“When we stop competing, the children win,” she affirmed.
EducAid is working in all parts in the north of Sierra Leone except for Falaba District and has intervened in 60 schools, while the other partners such as Save the Children, World Vision, and Rising Academy among others.
They have been providing audio concept material support to exams students, as they believe that free education is one thing but quality education is a different thing.
“If the children learn meaningful things, it will be the foundation of a transformed country. Sierra Leone can’t be the best until the children are well empowered,” Madam Sesay stated.
She emphasized that their major focus is on the teachers, head teachers and the community because they are going to be on the driving seat to ensure that the children get the required learning.
She pointed out that in order to make the project sustainable, it involved more investment as there are lot of challenges and resource constrains out there.
EducAid Quality Enhancement Program (QEP) Coordinator, Joseph M. Kai said the QEP is a program that is supporting the free quality program in Sierra Leone.
He said the program has been in existent since 2015, supporting teaching and learning in Sierra Leone. Kai went on to state that their major activity is to enhance quality teaching and learning by training teachers, monitoring their activities after the training, providing quality learning materials to the students, training SMC members on their role and responsibility in education and also working with education stakeholders such as the Education Ministry and the Teaching Service Commission.
Kai underscored that during the EU project in 2015, they were handling 80 schools in Port Loko District but with the EIC which is a new project they are working with 6 Districts and they have 10 schools in each district.
He added that in the 6 districts they are paying for teachers without qualification to secure HTC and TC courses.
Director for Teaching Service Commission in Tonkolili District, Victor Kamara said the project is government led training for Education Innovation Challenge.
He pointed out that there are challenges on effective collaboration and clear communication among others.
He said the partners are doing their best with the same goal in mind but with different approaches.
“We have been able to harmonize all of the challenges and designed recommendation. This will enhance collaboration among education actors and business communication. We want to see community ownership and harmonize approach,” he stressed.
The EIC project is in three phase, the first phase has been completed and soon the second phase will start, he assured.
ROCKDALE Foundation is one of the key sponsored for EducAid and NYAY and they are very keen to have the learning workshop as part of the programme. Presentation of certificates of commendation to field staff climaxed the workshop.