Schools to Reopen in July

2037

By Amin Kef Sesay

On 9th June 2020, the Ministry of Basic & Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) convened a consultative meeting with critical stakeholders in the Education Sector on school reopening in Sierra Leone. It must be noted that similar consultation was held prior to school closure on 31″ March, 2020 as a precautionary measure to mitigate spread of coronavirus in the country.

Organizations/institutions involved in the consultation included, but were not limited to the Ministry of Health & Sanitation/Emergency Operations Centre, Ministry of Gender & Children’s Affairs Teaching Service Commission, Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union; Conference of Principals for Secondary Schools, National Council of Head Teachers, Association of Private Schools, Civil Society Organizations, the World Bank, DFID, European Union, UNICEF, Caritas, Plan International, Oxfam, Sight Savers, Purposeful, and Teach for Sierra Leone.

It should be noted that Sierra Leone is a member of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) with sister countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and The Gambia. The decisions therefore on school reopening and examinations’ dates are considered via both national and regional consultations. WAEC Member Countries have each developed school reopening plans including tentative examination dates for West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE). After extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders listed above and also parents, MBSSE issues the following advisory for the attention of all learners, parents, teachers, school administrators and public sector institutions in the education service delivery sector.

It was agreed that schools must reopen for examinations candidates (NPSE, BECE, WASSCE) only with the following schedules:

West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) – Schools to open for a total period of six (6) weeks effective 16 July, 2020 and include two (2) weeks of preparation for reopening and four (4) weeks of tuition.
Examination to be conducted between 4th August, 2020 – 4th September,
2020 (note: WASSCE dates are synchronized across the sub-region and could be subject to changes as deemed fit by Council).

Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) – Schools to open for a minimum period of eight (8) weeks of tuition effective 1st July 2020 with examination conducted for eight (8) days starting a week after WASSCE (tentatively 14th September 2020).

National Primary School Examination (NPSE) – Schools to open for a total period of four (4) weeks of classes effective 1st July 2020 with examination conducted immediately afterward. Tentative examination date is 31″ July, 2020.
The Emergency Education Taskforce (EET) School Reopening Readiness Working Group will continue to work with partners, school authorities and MBSSE to develop and communicate comprehensive logistical requirements for reopening of schools under these conditions. Schools will reactivate their safety protocols which will be closely adhered to and monitored.

In consultation with the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Center, the Ministry of Health & Sanitation and other partners, MBSSE will indicate guidelines for school attendance and reopening including number of students in classroom and allowed activities in schools. These guidelines will be communicated via official channels. All citizens are advised to only use verified information from MBSSE published on the Ministry’s official website (www.mbsse.gov sl) or other channels but with MBSSE official stamps.

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