Sierra Leone’s legendary musician and social commentator, Emerson Bocakarie has once again mimicked President Bio’s Free Quality Education (FQE) flagship project in his ’9 Lives Kokonat Ed Album’ released 10th August, this year.
He has called on President Bio and government officials to transfer their children from private schools to public ones if they are sure the country’s education system is a quality one.
Many Sierra Leoneans, including Emmerson, hold the view that the much-talked about Free Quality Education is nothing but a farce.
The FQE is challenged by lack of decent and friendly learning and teaching environments, poor welfare conditions for teachers, ineffective monitoring and supervision of the Scheme, to name but a few.
Government has been struggling to meet most of what they promised in terms of implementing the FQE during its launching on the 20th August, 2018 at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown.
Even when 21% of the country’s budget continues to go into the Scheme backed-up by donor support, quality in the project is still weak.
The School Feeding programme promised for remote areas, building of more schools and supplies of furniture is yet to yield the required results owing to late and inadequate subsidies for the efficient management of schools.
It is quite clear from the afore-mentioned factors that school management remains a herculean task.
It is therefore no doubt that these challenges are continuing to impact the degree of quality teaching and learning in most public schools whose numbers continue to rise.
Parents have continued to witness high extortion by teachers in extra-curricular activities even against threats from the country’s anti-graft agency, Anti-Corruption Corruption and Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education.
Parents have found every justification to satisfy the teachers by meeting their bribery demands against the backdrop that the conditions of service for teachers have not improved in a daunting economic situation.
Emmerson had also criticised every bit of the Bio Government’s program including their campaign promise of producing abundance of rice to feed the nation.
Sierra Leoneans have continued to starve and still classified as the third hungriest country in the world.
The ‘New Direction’ Government which promised a turn-around in the sector with the introduction of high yielding seeds, mechanised farming, agriculture, irrigation system, the resuscitation of the Gbondapi and Tomabum agricultural sites and many others across the country have changed two Ministers of Agriculture in two years.
Sierra Leone has continued to receive huge international support to boost agricultural productivity and food self–sufficiency, but accessibility and affordability of food in the market still remains a huge concern.
The promise by the Bio Government of reducing the amount of money spent on the importation of rice and other food items which stood atUS$200M in April, 2018 goes unfulfilled.
Many investors, including the Vice President of India and many others who had visited the country with a view to invest in Tomabum and other agriculturally viable areas in the country are not impressed with the tax and other economic policies of government.
The failures of flagship projects of government have been compounded with unrealistic economic policies.
Emmerson had again questioned the so-much talked about economic reforms by the current Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa who had promised a six- month turn-around of the economy since President Bio was elected President.
Almost three years down the line, the beautiful policies said to be offered to the people of Sierra Leone have failed to turn things around.
Jobs are still allocated based on patronage and political considerations.
The Bio government which promised change has ruled the country in a manner worse than what they had criticised the APC for.