PRESIDENT BIO COMMISSIONS FREE EDUCATION BUSES

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The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr Julius Maada Bio on March 7 commissioned five Free Education Project mini buses at York Village, Western Area Rural, donated by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) to four schools of the blind and one school for the deaf.

The beneficiaries comprised the Milton Margai, Koidu, Bombali and Kabala schools for the blind, and the National School for the Deaf in Freetown.

The donation is geared towards cushioning the acute transportation challenges facing pupils with special needs, as part of the inclusive education policy of MBSSE, dubbed ‘Radical Inclusion Policy’.

The buses were procured through a World bank-led multi-donor support to MBSSE, under the Sierra Leone Free Education Project being implemented by the Free Education Project Secretariat.

The event formed part of the ceremony marking the launch of the Chinese-Government supported ‘Health-on-Wheels Initiative’ of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in York and Tombo, aimed at delivering mobile clinical services to the doorsteps of vulnerable populations in deprived communities as fast as possible, and strengthen the healthcare delivery system.

Government officers, development partners, health service providers, traditional authorities, civil society organizations, and people from all walks of life attended the programme, including.

Leone Stars Team Manager Robbed                                    

By Feima Sesay                        

Philip Moinina Kangbai was dragged to court before Magistrate Sahr Kekura of Pademba Road court No 1 for allegedly stealing  $26,000 from Leone Star Team Manager, Babadi Kamara.

The accused was arraigned in court on one count charge of House Breaking and Larceny contrary to section 26(1) of the Larceny Act 1916. According to the police, the accused Philip Moinina Kangbai on Saturday 15 January 2022 at No27 Caulker Street, off Torwama road, Bo in the southern province with intend to steal, breaks and entered into the dwelling house of Babadi Kamara and stole therein the sum of twenty six thousand United States dollars ($26,000) equivalent to three hundred and five million (Le 305,000,000/00) property of Babadi Kamara.

 Police Sergeant Dwight Marcarth is prosecuting the matter. The accused was refused bail and remanded in prison whiles the matter was adjourned to the 17 March 2022 for further hearing.

 Minister, MBSSE, Dr David M. Sengeh and the Free Education Project Coordinator, Ambrose T Sesay

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The Free Education Project is a 5-Year multi-donor support to the Sierra Leone Free Quality School Education Programme with the development objective to improve Management of the Educational System, Teaching Practices and Learning Conditions.

The World Bank (IDA), European Union (EU), Irish Aid, Foreign Commonwealth Development Office – FCDO, Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Government of Sierra Leone, fund the project

Public education on Public Education: Gov’t to pay Millions of Dollars just for WASSCE 2022 candidates and the Blackmail by some Private Schools

Checking the WAEC portal, as of today March 9th, 2022, 206,690 children have registered for the WASSCE 2022. Within the FQSE, every child in public schools can attempt these exams at no cost to their parents but at a cost of over $5 million to the Govt of Sierra Leone. GoSL has continued to expand access to public education every year and we continue to expand our budget as beneficiaries increase. We also see positive dividends as more of our children now transition into jobs and technical and higher institutions.

Also, there are about a dozen private schools (mostly in Western Area) who have failed to register about 2,700 students who now are running around trying to blackmail us in government. The portal was open to private schools since November 2021 and closed in early February. Two weeks ago, I also met with another set (all their principals lied to my face that they had paid on time but in fact hadn’t when I checked their payment slips). We had asked WAEC to open the portal for them which they did. Some had 9 candidates which they couldn’t successfully register. If a school in Falaba and Foindu can register their students via an online portal, I see no excuse for those here in Freetown to have missed these deadlines.

This is also really about Parent Teacher relations. If your child is in a private school, it’s a choice you have made to pay for their WASSCE fees. It is thus your responsibility to ensure that the school administration registers and confirms with you that your child is registered for their exams.

For us, there are processes. Opening the portal again  months after the deadline mean that we risk not being able to print and bring enough papers for the rest of our students. We risk not planning for enough exam centers for our kids. Do you see how unfair this is to our children? That 2,700 children can hold 206,000 to ransom?

Note, when I also spoke to those set of private schools, none of them had released teachers to support the marking of scripts. So, here we have a set of people who want to use the system, then they delay the system, and then blackmail the system and then not contribute to it. How’s this fair?

No, I am not talking against all private schools. Mind you, in this year’s GEM Report to UNESCO which I chair, my forward explicitly asks for and recognizes the role non-state actors play in education. In fact, I offered that my team provides training to private school teachers as well during COVID and we also deliver learning resources to them. But we have to call out those leaders whether in private or public schools who are not capable of managing their schools and providing quality education for our children.

Anyway, as we approach examinations, we will implement new mechanisms to ensure that the right pupils are taking these exams (we have heard stories of police men, nurses, etc all signing up to take these public exams at a cost to government). We will register all class 5, form 2, SSS 2 candidates in public schools through their NCRA National ID Number. When that process starts, it’s the responsibility of everyone to ensure that your kids are registered. Next year, if your NIN isn’t updated, you wont be able to take these exams!

We will transform this sector. It will be painful. We will be called names but we have no choice but to ensure our children can all access quality education.

Radical Inclusion…

”We are nolonger Discriminated against in Schools”

-Visual Impaired Girl

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She is not attending Milton Margai School for the Blind, neither is she schooling in the city or any of the district headquarter Towns, Magdalene Hawa Korgay is a pupil of National Senior Secondary School Luawa Chiefdom Kailahun District, the implementation of the Radical Inclusion Policy has enabled her to acquire education in a learning atmosphere devoid of discrimination.

This National Policy on Radical Inclusion in Schools seeks to ensure that schools throughout Sierra Leone are accessible to, and inclusive of, all children – especially those that are typically marginalised or excluded. In particular, the policy focuses on four excluded and marginalized groups: children with disabilities; children from low-income families; children in rural and underserved areas; and girls – especially girls who are currently pregnant and in school or are parent learners.

“In the past, colleague pupils use to mock persons with disability in schools and we were even struggling to access teaching and learning materials for visual impaired. But that has changed, in my school, there is no discrimination. Before I sat to the BECE I was told that I can get admission into whatever school I desired and that was what happened,” she said.

Dr. David Moinina Sengeh Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education said the ultimate goal of this policy is to generate a critical mass of highly educated, trained, and skilled Sierra Leoneans with the capacity to fulfill their potential, contribute to the national and global economy, and deliver better leadership and services in the public sector, noting that the Ministry is grateful for the opportunity to provide the first ever policy on radical inclusion in education in Sierra Leone.

“We are very happy that the 2020/2021 Academic Year subvention had been paid including backlog. This enabled us to put things in place for the smooth running of the new academic year. In the past, we don’t normally receive our subvention early so that usually led to the late reopening of our school,” according to Mr. Sallieu Turay Headteacher of the Milton Margai School for the Blind in an interview last year October.

He said last academic year, they received their third and fourth quarter subventions which are pivotal to proper planning of the academic year, adding that the promised was made by the Ministry and he worked towards that.

“We thanked the MBSSE particularly the Minister Dr. David Moinina Sengeh for not only introducing the Radical Inclusion Policy, but also implementing what the policy dictates. The Minister has manifested that he has passion for not only children, but children with special needs,” according to Madam Winifred Coullier Headteacher National School for the Deaf.

The 2021 Concord Times Nation Builders Awards Night awarded the National Policy on Radical Inclusion in Schools as the Most Impactful Policy of the Year.

“I want to commend the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education for what he has done for persons with disability. He has been very pivotal in ensuring that I acquire education beyond Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in my Chiefdom. My first term grades are very much encouraging and I am happy,” Magdalene said.

SAUDI ARABIA DROPS MOST OF ITS COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has dropped most of its COVID-19 restrictions including an outdoor mask mandate, according to the Ministry of Interior quoted by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

People in Saudi Arabia are still required to wear face masks in indoor places, according to SPA.

The Kingdom has also dropped the requirement for travelers to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test on arrival.

People entering the country no longer have to quarantine, although health insurance is still required.

A flight ban on travelers from several countries has also been lifted.

These include: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Comoros, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan.

Worshippers performed dawn prayers without social distancing at Makkah’s Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah on Sunday for the first time since COVID-19 measures were re-introduced on December 30.

Social distancing at Islam’s holiest site was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic and initially dropped in October of 2021.

Restrictions were reintroduced as cases rose following the detection of the first case of the omicron variant in December.

The easing of restrictions comes as daily COVID-19 case numbers continues to fall after a spike in mid-January.

On January 19 daily case numbers in Saudi Arabia reached an all-time-high of 5,928 as the omicron variant spread worldwide.

Case numbers fell in the following weeks, and the country recorded 283 on Saturday.

The Ministry of Interior credited the dropping of COVID-19 rules to high rates of immunity and inoculation.

Enough COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered to inoculate 87 percent of the population with two doses, according to Reuters.

An ‘immune’ Tawakkalna contact-tracing app status is still required to enter public places and use public transportation.

SLRA compensates Property Affected Persons

 The Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) has paid compensation to 256 Property Affected Persons (PAPs) along the Bandajuma-Liberia border Road corridor.

The compensation payment was done on Friday, March 4, 2022 at the Fairo Community Centre in Pujehun District.

The Reconstruction of Bandajuma-MRU Bridge and Road Project is part of the Trans-West Africa Highway project that seeks to ease the movements of people and facilitate trade within and beyond the Mano River Union countries. It is funded by the European Union and the Government of Sierra Leone.

Before the payment started, the Director of Operations Management who doubles as the Project Manager, Ing. Alfred Jalil Momodu, reminded stakeholders of the affected communities that the Right-of-Way belongs to SLRA and that the institution can utilise the land reserve anytime it wants to reconstruct roads across the country.

“Any person that has a permanent structure or plantations within the demarcated road corridor should always be willing to give up his/her properties for road development purposes.” He emphasised.

Ing. Momodu explained that the compensation payments were not the actual market value of the properties, but are consolation packages to enable the affected persons to move off the road corridor without major shock to their livelihoods.

The Chiefdom Speaker of Sorogbema Chiefdom in Pujehun District, Chief Augustine Zoker, dilated on the relevance of the road project to the livelihood of communities in the District. 

Chief Zoker recounted that most of their relatives and development partners found it very difficult to access their communities when the roads were deplorable, and the residents had to spend a lot of money and time to travel to bigger cities like Bo and Kenema.

He encouraged the PAPs to receive their compensations in good faith and corporate with SLRA for the construction works to continue.

The scope of the project includes the reconstruction of 105km road that spans from Bandajuma to Liberia border and three major bridges across the Sewa, Wanjeh and Moa rivers.

Since the project started in 2016, the SLRA has paid more than SLL6 Billion in  compensation to over 1000  PAPs along the Bandajuma-MRU Road corridor.

The recent compensation payments was expected to be final payments to PAPs for the project. It was done in the presence of representatives from the Anti-Corruption Commission, Audit Service Sierra Leone, Civil Society and the media.

Okada Rider Murder…

 Police Testifies in court

By Feima Sesay

29yrs Old Ibrahim Mohamed Kamara has been arraigned before Magistrate, Sahr Kekura of Pademba road court No.1 in Freetown on one count charge of Murder.

According to the charge sheet, it was alleged that on Saturday 21st January, 2022 at Ro-theren Village, Rorrende Chiefdom, Port Loko district, the North west in the Republic of Sierra Leone, the accused  Murdered Alpha Bankoh

The charge was read and explained to him and no plea was  taken.

Testifying on the matter, Prosecution witness number one, Detective Police Constable 15299 Momoh Santigie Bangura attached to the Criminal Investigation Department Lunsar police station recognized the accused person in the dock.

 He said on the 22nd January 2022, he was on duty when one Amara Kamara, an elder of Ro-theren village assisted by Sub Inspector Abu Sama Bangura arrested and brought in the accused person with one blue unregistered TVS motor bike and reported a case of alleged Murder. He said the accused person was having blood spot on his clothes and they alleged that the accused person killed the person that has the unknown bike that was brought to the police station.

The witness said the alleged incident occurred on Friday 21st January 2022 around 8:30pm and having received the report they detained the accused.

Explaining in court, the witness said early in the morning the accused person told him that he allegedly killed the bike rider at the site he was guarding at the said village.

The witness also stated that the  blood which was all over his body was that of the deceased Called Alpha.

“My lord, after such confession a team of police officers from Lunsar together with the accused person went to the crime scene where  they observed some amount of Struggling because cassava plants was broken and some foot steps”, he stated.

The witness further narrated that at that  point the accused person identified a cutlass which was stained with blood and  admitted to them, that was the cutlass he used to chop the deceased at the scene.

He said the scene of crime officer took photographs of the cutlass, collected it and they proceeded to the garden where they saw a mark which the accused told them was that of the deceased. He said the accused also led them to another area where they saw a yellow and white coat stain with blood that the accused person identified the deceased was put on.

“My lord the accused further led us to the remain of the deceased lying down under a palm tree naked at Savanna land the scene of crime took photographs of it”, the witness said

In continuation of his examination in chief, the witness said they interviewed the accused person and he told them that he hit the deceased twice with the cutlass.

The police witness said they observed injuries on the chin and the head of the deceased.

He said after discovering there remains, they conveyed it to the mortuary and went on a search warrant at the premises of the accused.  He said during the search,   they found long dagger and a kitchen knife, at  that point they returned with the accused person  together with other exhibits.

The witness said on that same day he obtained statements from complainant who reported the matter on the 23rd January 2022.

He said, later some relatives of the deceased including one Fatmata Bankoh arrived at his house and claimed that the photos they saw on WhatsApp were their relatives and they went to the Mortuary where they  identified the deceased as Alpha Sankoh alias ‘Designer.’

“I also obtained statement from Fatmata Sankoh the relative of the deceased”, he testified.

The witness said on the 24th January 2022, himself and Inspector E Sankelekeh obtained voluntary caution statement from the accused person.  He said the accused was cautioned and questioned in Krio, and his statement was recorded in English.

The witness said on the 25th day of January 2022 the accused person made statement in krio language and at the end it was read and explained to him, and he admitted it to be true and correct and signed by afflicting his right hand tumb print. He said the statement was witnessed by Inspector E Sakelehkeh and he signed as the recorder. The statement of the accused was produced and tendered as exhibit A1-42.

Testifying further, the witness said on the 26th January 2022, he transferred the case and enquiry file with the accused person at the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters for further investigation.

Cross examination by defense counsel W.C Eloba, the witness said he investigate the matter based on what he saw and discovered.

The witness further stated in cross examination that the accused told them that he was attacked by two men.

Having heard the testimony of the witness, Magistrate Sahr Kekura refused  the accused bail and ordered for him to be remanded at the male correctional center in Freetown. He adjourned the matter to the 15th March 2022

As ST Mary Supermarket meet international standard…

Jamal Shallop humanitarian investor

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By Alhaji Turay

There are many investors around the world who are there to boost national economy because majority of them urge employees to helping government in day to day running the affairs of the state.

As most investors employ large part of the population in any country, they take up to fifty percent or even beyond to 85 percent of employees in any country which comes from private sector with only 15 percent is made up from the government, this 15 percent from government goes with three different functions, they take the executive, judiciary and legislative functions.

These officials commonly call state functionaries, you have the president and its cabinet making up rules and regulation which they send to the Legislative for enactment as well as finalized by the judiciary which deals with the law breakers that have been put in place by the executive and legislative organs.

For these three organs to function properly, they need to sort out employment for few people who can help them to push their day to day activities of the state.

Sierra Leone is one state that has all kind of investors in the country purporting to be genuine investor and still lack the criteria, but because of mere understand and injustice doors are still open for them to come in by the government.

One of the genuine investor that has been hailed by many Sierra Leoneans who own St Mary’s Supermarkets, Jamal Shallop, is a true investor for Sierra Leone because of his dealing with people in Sierra Leone as well as meeting cooperate social responsibilities as he cares for ordinary for his personal benefit.

Despite all of this, the owner of St Mary’s Supermarket as being classed one of the standard supermarket businesses in Sierra Leone abiding to the local and international systems of service delivery.

According to findings carried out by this medium shows that the owner of this business is really meeting rules and regulations both locally and internationally.

In a secret interview with buyers, they expressed gratitude and happiness for such investor in the country as his products meet the standard bureau conditions.

Speaking to this medium, people around Freetown and beyond call on government to encourage Jamal Shallop to continue doing business in Sierra Leone by giving him more preferential treatment so that he will be able to handle his business well in the country

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