Our last blog focused on New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff's article about health care reforms in Sierra Leone and he's back this week looking at the education changes sweeping the country. He rightly points out that school fees are now illegal making education accessible for all children, even those in extreme poverty. He also credits the current government with ushering in these changes and providing the financing, led by their very young minister of education- David Sengue- a Harvard and MIT alum and local kid made good.
The revolution in education happening in Sierra Leone - if it is successful- will have staggering impacts on the younger generation and the prospects of the country as a whole. There is no other development intervention with more impact than education.
At SGUW, we support free, compulsory education for all children in Sierra Leone. We applaud the efforts of the government as we see improvements in the quality of educators and school buildings. These changes must be supported equally throughout the country, in rural areas and in the very poorest of cities as well. As Kristoff shows in his video above, the enlightened policies in Freetown don't always find their way out to the rural regions where children still work outside of school for a variety of reasons- one of which is forced payment of school fees. This old and discriminatory practice must stop- it is illegal and denies children their rightful education, dooming the country to more poverty and less development. An outcome nobody wants to see.