Over 30 schools in Sierra Leone are allegedly banned by the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MEST) from taking part in the West African Senior Secondary School Exams (WASSE).
The MEST Public Relations Officer (PRO), Brima Michael, said, “I don’t want to comment on this issue. If I had the official authorization to comment I would,” he said.
While the Ministry plays dodgeball with the media and public regarding the issue, the future of over 30,000 pupils is at stake.
Sierra Leone International Mission Secondary School at Old Wharf, in the east end of Freetown was commissioned by the former Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Minister of the Education, Alpha Wurie.
This school, which was part of the Sababu School building project undertaken by the SLPP government has been disapproved by the current Minister of Education from partaking in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Exams (WASCE), said the Acting Principal, Thomas Pessima.
The School’s prefect, Cherinor Moseray, said they were taken aback when the school authority break the news that their school have been barred from partaking in the WASCE. The reason they were barred from the exams was not preferred, he lamented.
Acting Principal Pessima, explained that in 2007, the school received a letter from the Ministry, which recognized the school as a senior secondary school, eligible to admit pupils who have passed their Basic Education Certificate Exams (BECE), and also the school is eligible to partake in the WASCE.
“Since 2007, the school has been sending students for the WASCE… However, when the school went to the Ministry for this year’s WASCE, the school was disapproved,” explained the Acting Principal.
He said the Principal of the school, Leonel Kanu, wrote the Ministry and attached a copy of the eligibility letter the school received in 2007. However, the school’s attempts to salvage the situation went awry. The Ministry maintained its ban and disapproval of the school for reasons that remain unclear. Efforts to reach the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Minkalu Bah, on several occasions did not work, Pessima muttered.
As the saga continues hundreds of affected school pupils are in limbo, helpless and not knowing what to do. While threats of teenage pregnancy, crime and drug abuse glares into the innocent faces of these helpless pupils.