By Foday Moriba Conteh
During a well-attended ceremony held on Tuesday 18th October, 2022 at St. Luke’s Pre-School Compound on Wilberforce in Freetown, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio officially commissioned the newly renovated St. Luke’s Catholic Junior Secondary School at Wilberforce which was done by Africell Sierra Leone as part of rolling out their Corporate Social Responsibility in the country.
Stating the purpose of the gathering, Father Vincent Davies, said that school reforms have been central to the Free Quality Education Agenda since 2018, adding that the Government, under the leadership of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, has made good progress towards education but said there is still more to be done.
“My belief and argument today is that we will only deliver on the promises that all politicians and stakeholders made of ensuring that every child receives education that is Free and of Quality if we are to ensure that all children are taught in school with an extensive knowledge reached curriculum by well-trained an supported teachers,” he revealed.
Father Vincent Davies said that the opening of the school is among their plans as a local church to provide an opportunity and to level up an important way they can rise to the challenge of creating a more inclusive and cohesive society where debates and arguments are based on evidences rather than emotions.
He also pointed out that the opening of the school was contingent upon the fact that they want to collaborate with Government in order to establish an enabling learning environment for education to thrive in that part of the country.
Delivering a statement on behalf of the Proprietor of the school, Dr. Joseph Kamanda informed the gathering that there has been a great desire over the years for a Catholic Secondary School with the Catholic Church in the country.
He said the opening of the St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School is a fulfillment of the long desire of the Catholic Church, adding that the opening of the school also reminds all of the powerful vision the earliest missionaries had, of which they saw education as a tool for the empowerment of all and the building of any nation.
Dr. Joseph Kamanda assured all that the school will work tremendously towards complementing the Government’s Free Quality Education in the country.
A representative from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School, Natu Jatu commended the entire membership of the Catholic Mission and Africell Sierra Leone for renovating the St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School.
She said the Ministry of Education has the holistic task to make sure that education becomes part of the nation’s national agenda, adding that the Ministry is working tirelessly in order to ensure that children are given the opportunity to acquire education in the country.
The Managing Director of Africell Sierra Leone, Shadi Gerjawi, started by applauding the Chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Ambassador Joe Bell, whom he said is the pioneer of the project, adding that the move by the Chairman was remarkable and shows that he values inclusive learning and human capital development in the country.
He said that Africell has over the years identified education as a key pillar of the company’s activities which was why when they were approached for the renovation of the school they responded swiftly.
Shadi Gerjawi stated that Africell has invested not only in joint projects with learning institutions, but has also provided basic programme education to students from primary to university level saying they are the first to offer coding classes in the country.
He revealed that recently the company opened an E-Learning Centre for that and to be used as a resource center to train and prepare future leaders.
The Managing Director encouraged parents to send their children to school in order for them to make good use of the opportunity. He concluded by extending appreciation to the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio, for her continuous support to the children and the women of Sierra Leone.
In her keynote address and opening of the school, the First Lady , Fatima Maada Bio, showered praises on Africell Sierra Leone for their tremendous efforts towards complementing the Government’s Free Quality Education over the years.
She said that education is very important and it in that regard the Government, under the leadership of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, introduced the Free Quality Education across the country, furthering that the Free Quality Education is not for political gain but rather to give the children of Sierra Leone a chance to become people that will build the nation.
She admonished beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity, underscoring how education is the key to success and that they should take their studies serious, adding that with education they will achieve their dreams and become great personalities in society.
Closing the ceremony was the official opening of the school by the First Lady of the Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio, the Managing Director of Africell Sierra Leone, Shadi Gerjawi and other dignitaries present at the ceremony.