President Bio talks to students & university authorities in South Korea on education

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President Julius Maada Bio has told students and authorities of the Yonsei Univerity that in the past six years, Sierra Leone’s education sector has received the largest share of the country’s annual national budget, having received 22% annually.

He made this statement while giving a special lecture on enhancing the educational system and reconstructing governance in Sierra Leone, where he also stated that his government was investing significantly in the education sector to empower the citizens with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

“Prioritizing education in Sierra Leone means breaking the cycle of poverty, reducing inequality, and fostering a society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. As we can all see today, South Korea’s remarkable rise from a war-torn nation to a global economic powerhouse serves as a testament to the transformative power of education and Human Capital Development,” he told his audience.

He said Sierra Leone has drawn valuable lessons from South Korea’s experience, noting that his government was building a robust educational system that is accessible, equitable, and of high quality.

“We have increased investment in education hard and soft infrastructure, trained and retained qualified teachers, and ensured that our curriculum is relevant to the needs of the 21st century. Our pioneering approach to Radical Inclusion in Education ─ leaving NO ONE BEHIND ─ be it expectant girls, adult learners, children from our most vulnerable communities, or those with disabilities ─ has garnered commendations from the international community,” he stated.

President Bio noted that in Sierra Leone, his government took the education of girls very seriously, adding that in the past six years, the government’s enabling policies have permitted us to achieve gender parity in our schools.

“Girls have higher retention and pass rates in all national transition examinations into tertiary and vocational institutions. Our policy of ensuring free STEM education for girls from primary school through university has resulted in a record number of doing exceptionally well,” he said.

He disclosed that as part of his government’s commitment to democracy, he was proud to say that they have repealed the criminal libel law that hindered the country’s Press Freedom and abolished the death penalty.

“Our Government’s concerted efforts to fight corruption and promote transparency have continued to gain global traction. Notably, Sierra Leone has consistently made upward progress in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) Country Rankings,” he told his audience.

He said in six years, Sierra Leone moved twenty-two (22) places upwards on the CPI rankings, from 130 in 2017 to 108 in 2023, which is above the sub-Saharan Africa average and the highest Sierra Leone has ever recorded since the CPI rankings began.

“Agriculture is our main priority sector for the next four years, with the vision of attaining food security and sovereignty in our nation. Through our FEED SALONE PROGRAMME, we aim to ignite job creation, catalyze economic momentum, and significantly diminish the burdens of poverty,” he noted.

President Bio said his government would continue investing strategically in Human Capital Development and seeking traditional and innovative job-creating opportunities for our youth through the government’s Youth Employment Scheme (YES).

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