By Ragan M. Conteh
Sierra Leone’s First lady, Mrs Fatima Bio has expressed doubt about whether the next President would continue the Free Quality Education (FQE) project of the ‘New Direction.’
The statement by the first lady was to urge parents and pupils to take advantage of the FQE project, an investment that will surely improve the human resource of Sierra Leone.
“I don’t know if the new President that will succeed President Julius Maada Bio will give us free education,” she said.
The First Lady made the statement in a signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Don Bosco Fambul and other organisations including Family Support Unit (FSU), Rainbow Initiative, and Lawyers’ Centre for Women Yearning for Equal Rights and Justice, among others.
Under the FQE, no pupil pays money of whatever kind to any school authority.
“Any teacher who asks a student for money has committed a crime and must be reported to the police,” she urged.
The first lady also spoke on the increase in incidents of rape, sexual penetration and other forms of sexual abuse referring to them as damaging to the future of girls in Sierra Leone.
Mrs Fatima Bio said it was in that direction that she launched the ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ campaign to nip in the bud such incidents.
“Sierra Leone is a community where parents threaten their children not to talk to the police about what a rapist did to them,” she emphasised.
She urged parents to reduce silence on issues of rape in the country adding that this is not the First Lady’s cause but everyone a fight for everyone.