: State House: Staff Writer
His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has told the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly that eradicating poverty can only be achieved by developing and improving on a nations’ greatest resource – the people.
“Skilled, healthy, and productive human beings are pathways to global success and prosperity. As a nation, we see human capital development as a critical enabler for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. My Government has, therefore, allocated 21% of the national budget to education,” he said, adding that as a consequence the country, in under two years, had seen 2 million children enrolled with pre-primary to secondary school education being free, irrespective of gender, ability, or ethnicity.
He said his government had expanded opportunities in education for girls by creating safe spaces in schools, campaigning vigorously against early marriage and sexual and gender-based violence, with very emphatic and uncompromising actions.
“Girls admitted to study Science Technology Engineering and Maths, STEM disciplines in colleges are guaranteed scholarships. Technical and vocational education centres are now accessible to more Sierra Leonean girls and youth, and, we are investing more in school infrastructure, transportation, sanitation and health, school feeding, and retention programmes.
“We are restructuring and redesigning our education system to deliver quality education that serves inclusive, sustainable national and private sector development. Our focus is to achieve fundamental, age-appropriate learning outcomes in literacy, computational skills, and critical thinking. We invite the world to work with us!” he said.
President Bio also mentioned the setting up of the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation, that had developed a human capital development incubator with extensive real-time data on education in Sierra Leone and other components of our human capital development flagship programme. He noted that policy interventions and investments in education, healthcare and food security were increasingly informed by and driven by this real-time data.
“Sierra Leone continues to use the power of data to plan, make policy decisions, allocate resources, guide governance, and open new possibilities for private entrepreneurship, and drive human capital development.
“We are open to partnerships; we are open to collaboration; we are open to ideas about how to continue improving the quality of education because we believe that our success in a global digital economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is predicated on our investment in the future of our children,”
Arolyn Ibrahim Koroma