Freetown Schools Rocking

Posted on Aug 28, 2013

Freetown Schools Rocking

Our final long stint in the 4 x4 took us from the rural poverty of Bumpetoke to its urban cousin in Freetown.

Freetown

In the eastern part of the city we visited the two first Millione schools, neighbours Up Town Bar and Up Mountain. Both had been open for students since September 2011. It was quite something to see the new buildings in place of the shacks I had seen three years before.

Calvary School

In contrast to rural Bumpetoke, both these schools reflected urban life. The well established school management group had a vision of the development they wanted to see. Both head masters thanked me profusely for what Millione had provided and spoke of the huge difference it made to the children and communities-then asked for more.

Far from resenting their boldness I liked their enterprise. They saw Millione as a potential springboard for further educational benefits. Up Town Bar school had started a Junior Secondary School (JSS) off their own back, doubling up the use of the classrooms and teachers in the afternoons after the Primary school was over. In their first year fifty five students were enrolled, thirty two boys and twenty two girls.

Head teacher Francis Turay

Head Teacher Francis Turay asked the Millione Foundation to finance solar powered lighting to enable classes to go on after dark and additional buildings for the JSS.

At Up Mountain school the first two classes had sixty eight and seventy four children enrolled in rooms built for an already sizeable fifty.

Attendance roll

Here the community had squeezed in more kids at both ends of the Primary school age group. Two classrooms had been used to take in preschool nursery age children, pushing some of the older ones into a ramshackle outbuilding further up the hill, and a JSS for fifty students had been started in a battered old building rented down the way

I was asked to attend a meeting of the school management committee that had been organised to coincide with my visit. They requested funds to build classrooms for the nursery kids and an entire JSS. Here lies a dilemma.

Our plan is to fund Primary Schools because they are the bedrock of education, the first step without which a child cannot start on the ladder of knowledge and self improvement. At the same time motivated communities with responsible, dynamic leaders want to deliver education from nursery through to senior secondary. Would it be better to focus on fewer well led communities and use our funds to create schools from beginning to end of the educational system?

A question to ponder.

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