Diary of a Rural School:- Post-ebola bulletins - school re-opening
The government have opened schools in Sierra Leone. Exams in BECE and WASSCE have already taken place. We have reservations about this for many reasons including schools' and teachers' capacity and readiness, school hygiene and safety from ebola and other diseases.
24 April 2015 Reported by teacher Keifa Swarray at YSS: Students are starting to trickle in now that school has started at YSS. The first week of the reopening was not very encouraging as usual. We only had few JSS 1 and 2 pupils with one or two senior students. This week is some how better as we are having some SSS students now joining us. As of today, We have three streams of JSS 1, though we are expecting seven or eight streams of JSS 1. I happened to talk to most of the continuing students in Yengema, they are saying that they will start attending next week after the independent holiday. We are hoping to see them because the Government has promised paying fees for every body, although this is not effected in the fees account to date. We have got two new teachers for CRK and Agriculture. Presently Mr. Kawa has been asked to prepare a temporary timetable until every body is settled, then we can use the computer program which I will need help with.
Mr. Emmanuel Senessie was his way coming with trunk sent from the UK by Mr Eddie Finnegan, he later called saying he is passing the night at Motema since he arrived a bit late at around 8:00 pm. So we will receive the trunk in the morning tomorrow then I will send you details of items that will be received.
9 April 2015: Reported by teacher Keifa Swarray at YSS: "Below is a list of additional items received today at the school from Government:
1. Bucket with Taps - 14 buckets
2. Receiving Buckets - 14 buckets
3. Jerry can (20l) - 7 pieces
4. Soap - 112 cakes
5. Thermometer - 10 pieces
6. Rubber Gloves - 4 pieces
7. Brooms - 4 pieces
8. Scrubbing Brush - 4 pieces
9. Chlorax (l) - 48 litres
10. School Preparation kits - 1 bucket."
27 March 2015: Questions YSSOSTFA are asking now; Are Sanitation committees ready now at the school? Are toilets opened and ready for use? Who will do the actual daily cleaning? Where will most schools get their water? What about schools with no toilets? Not enough water for several hundred students to flush U bend toilets, so how do we deal with this and the attached health risks? It is reported that GoSL (through the World Bank) has decided to give to each school: Junior Secondary Schools (JSS): Le 45,000,000 (forty five million Leones, approx £7000), Senior Secondary Schools (SSS): Le94,000,000 (Ninety four million leones, approx £14,500). What strategic plans are in place to maximise impact on teaching, learning and safety at each school? How is this money going to be allocated, controlled, monitored? What safeguards are in place to ensure it arrives and is spent on what it was intended for? How many students will turn up for school? How many girls will ever come back? What provisions for adult education?
26 March 2015: At a meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London between the Sierra Leonean Diaspora and several UK government ministries yesterday, the SL Deputy High Commissioner said that school reopening dates are subject to review by GoSL, depending on the circumstances and advice received from expert partners in country.
26 March 2015: Reported by teacher Keifa Swarray at YSS: - Today received the following Ebola Materials at the school from GoSL MEST (see list and picture below)
1. Buckets with taps (Veronica buckets) - nine (09) buckets
2. Receiving buckets - nine (09) buckets
3. Jerry cans (20 litres) - five (05) rubbers
4. Soap - seventy-two( 72) cakes
5.Thermometers - Seven (07) thermometers
6. Rubber gloves - Four (04) pairs
7. Broom - Four (04) pieces
8. Scrubbing brush - Four (04) brushes
9. Chlorax (L) - twenty-four (24) bottles
10. School preparation Kits (soaps, home gloves, nose cover, etc) -one (01).
24 March 2015: @UNICEFSL responded that "school supplies are being distributed through the local National Electoral Commission". We'll let you know if and when they arrive at Yengema and other Kono Schools.
23 March 2015: On Twitter UNICEF announced a shipment if "1 tonne of pencils, pens and books on the way from @UNICEFSupply to children returning to school in @UNICEFSL #endebola"
23 March 2015: We asked @unicefsupply and @UNICEFSL to "take one example school: how does YSS Kono ensure its students receive supplies?"
17 March 2015: Reported by teacher Keifa Swarray at YSS: "336 candidates passed the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) for the school this year. Unfortunately, we don't know how many of those candidates will turn up for admission. Interview for ther candidates will be conducted on the 23rd to the 26th of March, 2015."
16 March 2015: Reported by Emmanuel Aiah Senessie (YOSA Sierra Leone): "Schools will now reopen on 14 April 2015. This is OFFICIAL. BECE students will return to school on 23 March to take the public exam And WASSCE students on 30 March. All other students will return on 14 April"
12 March 2015: YSSOSTFA’s shipment of anti ebola materials donated and shipped by our own Eddie Finnegan retired ex principal of YSS and director of YSSOSTFA, is due in Freetown on 18th March, for customs clearance by Wednesday 25th March (estimated date). The shipment contains a trunk of Chlorine (30Kgs), Anti-Ebola- PPE Infection kit and related hygiene items.
7 March 2015: Dian and Sahr represented YSSOSTFA at the Sierra Leone UK Diaspora Ebola Task Force (SLUKDERT) "Education Beyond Ebola" conference in London. School reopening and surrounding issues were hot on the agenda. Dian took part in the workshop on female gender issues in education. Sahr in his workshop discussed the vital role of alumni associations in supporting schools in Sierra Leone. We were also able to hand out a brief summary for all delegates YSSOSTFA's activities and priorities for YSS, and spoke for a few minutes to delegates about how the school had rebuilt from its post war dilapidation and use as a disarmament camp, to its current state, though low learning and teaching standards were still a challenge.
6 March 2015: Reported from Sierra Leone: A lot of teachers are not happy with the proposed date (March 30) for the reopening of schools but their Principals are very much in favour. Could this be due to what the Government (through the World Bank) has decided to give to each school: Junior Secondary Schools (JSS): Le 45,000,000 (forty five million Leones, approx £7000), Senior Secondary Schools (SSS): Le94,000,000 (Ninety four million leones, approx £14,500)? It is not clear yet how this money is going to be allocated, what strategic plans are in place and what safeguards are in place to ensure it is spent on what it was intended for.