West Africa Youth Network Celebrates International Students Day

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Cross Section of Participants

By Foday Moriba Conteh

In order to enhance the development of young people in Sierra Leone, the West Africa Youth Network (WAYN) a youth-led organization in partnership with Patriotic Advocacy Network (PAN) on Saturday 16nd November, 2019 joined other countries in celebrating International Student Day at Africell American Corner, Bathurst Street in Freetown.

Speaking to this medium in an interview, Assistant Executive Director, West Africa Youth Network, James Fortune disclosed that the International Day of Students is geared towards raising awareness on issues affecting students globally and find possible ways to eradicate them within society, adding that in order to celebrate the day, the West Africa Youth Network brought together students from different institutions to discuss and raise awareness on these issues affecting them in their various institutions and the society as a whole.

He said it is no secret that students in Sierra Leone face huge challenges ranging from sex for grade, marginalization, injustice, corruption etc. He noted that corruption in the educational system is the order of the day and it has eaten into the fabric of our educational system.

He said students have the ability to change Sierra Leone positively and in that regard he encouraged them to not only look at issues surrounding them but to do something in order to change the narrative, noting that they are partners in development and constitute the majority of the country’s population and in that regard he encouraged them to contribute to nation building.

He called on the government of Sierra Leone to own up to their promises towards the development of young people in the country.

Executive Director Patriotic Advocacy Network Ansumana Keita disclosed that the International Student’s Day started in Germany 1939 during the Nazi era in Germany, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship and Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. During this period students were marginalized, killed, raped etc.

He said that since 1939 the International Day of Student is a day set aside every year to raise awareness on issues affecting students and increased recognition of students as key agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development.

He said that however, students in Sierra Leone face huge challenges in the areas of education, employment, health, and governance, noting that with students strength, flexibility, unwavering desire to effect the needed change in their society, they are indeed the centrality of the development of Sierra Leone.

He disclosed that celebrating this day in Sierra Leone will help raise awareness on issues affecting students in the country ranging from corruption within the educational system, lack of learning materials, sex for grade, injustice, marginalization within the system which he considers to be the negative things that have destroyed the educational system.

He said that this year’s celebration focuses on three major areas education, empowerment and engagement, adding that the event was also geared towards looking at contributions made by students.

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