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Sierra Leone Education and Training



Sierra Leone has a long tradition of education. Already at the advent of Sierra Leone in 1787 (see Older History), the first mission schools were opened. Fourah Bay College (now the University of Sierra Leone), founded in 1827, is the oldest university in West Africa. Today, however, a slow work is underway to build up the schools from the ruins after the civil war in 1991–2002 and after the Ebola epidemic 2014–2015. Many children have almost no schooling at all and illiteracy is high.

  • Allcitypopulation: Offers a list of biggest cities in the state of Sierra Leone, including the capital city which hosts major colleges and universities.
  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Sierra Leone, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

During the Civil War, the educational system almost completely collapsed. Since then, the state, with the help of international aid, has made great investments in the reconstruction of the school system, but the problems are many: the school buildings that exist are often in poor condition; there is a great lack of both teachers and teaching materials; The classes are usually large, up to 40-50 students. Admittedly, the number of pupils in compulsory school doubled during the years 2000-2005. Yet in 2013, only a quarter of the children attended school and only one percent of fourth graders could read well enough to understand what they were reading. Half of the primary school teachers lacked formal education.

Since the Ebola epidemic broke out in the spring of 2014, many schools were closed and only opened a year later. It also seemed to be delayed before all students returned to school, as many families could no longer afford to send the children to school, as they had to help raise money for living. Although the compulsory school is in principle free of charge, such as school uniforms and books etc. When the schools opened again, the government banned pregnant students from participating in the education.

The at least compulsory six-year compulsory school from the age of six on paper is followed by two higher stages each of three years. The first three school years are taught in the local language, then in English. Less than a third of the students go on to the higher stages and many girls fall away long before they have completed their education due to early marriages and pregnancies. However, special efforts are being made to get more girls, and even pupils who for various reasons have jumped off prematurely, to finish school and in general, education is a priority issue for the government.

From the fall semester of 2018, the new president Julius Maada Bio introduced free schooling for all primary school children. According to the president, the state is responsible for tuition and school fees. At the start, he donated three months' salary to this, but it is still uncertain how the reform will be financed.

Only a few students reach the university level. The upper class often prefers to send their children abroad for higher education.

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Proportion of children starting primary school

98.3 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

39 (2017)

Reading and writing skills

32.4 percent (2013)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

19.8 percent (2017)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

19.8 percent (2017)



Koroma and APC win the election

He gets 59 percent of the vote, against 38 percent for Maada Bio. The turnout is high, just over 87 percent.

An important reason why Koroma wins the presidential election is that he has succeeded in increasing support in the Kono district, where the SLPP has traditionally been the strongest.

There are reports of strong tensions between the supporters of the two major parties from several directions. In Kenema, SLPP supporters clash with police.

Koroma's party will also be the largest in the parliamentary elections, where APC gets 67 seats against 42 for SLPP. Since even the country's highest traditional chiefs are to appoint 12 MPs, APC is expected to further strengthen its position.

The SLPP maintains that cheating has occurred and threatens to boycott the work of parliament and local parishes.

SLPP accuses the Election Commission of cheating

After the election, the opposition party claims, among other things, that the election commission, via a video recording, invited voters to vote for specific candidates and encouraged various forms of electoral fraud. In the city of Kailahun, in the eastern part of the country, APC supporters, who claim that their party has won the election, are meeting with police.

EU observers say the elections have largely been right, but there are several problems. Among other things, the state radio has given considerably more space to APC than to other parties. Voice purchases must also have occurred. APC receives criticism for using state funds in its election campaign, but no mention is made of how much money it is about.

Quiet election day

The presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on November 17. Ahead of the election, clashes in Freetown are taking place between supporters from the two major parties.


Nine candidates in the presidential election

The campaign for the presidential and parliamentary elections later this fall is mostly calm. President Koroma's main opponent is Julius Maada Bio from SLPP. He led the temporary military junta, which in 1996 returned power to civilian politicians.

Koroma's position is strengthened before the election of several high-ranking SLPP politicians to APC.

Ten elections are held in the parliamentary elections and 588 candidates are competing for the 124 seats in the parliament. Only 38 of the candidates are women. In addition to the APC and SLPP, among others, the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) and the Revolutionary United Front (Ruf), the political branch of the former guerrillas, participate.


Sierra Leone suffers from cholera

The epidemic that erupted at the beginning of the year, until August, has claimed more than 200 lives (see Social conditions).

student Protests

Student Protests. Fourah Bay University closes when upset students burn car tires on campus. The deannstran protests that 31 students have been relegated from the university. These had been at the forefront of an occupation of student housing.


Convicting them against Taylor

26th of April

On April 26, 2012, the Special Court sentenced Charles Taylor to war crimes in Sierra Leone (see Political system). One month later, the sentence is announced: 50 years in prison.


Weapons for party activists?

SLPP accuses the government party of supplying weapons to APC activists in connection with the country receiving a shipload of weapons, worth more than $ 4 million, which will go to a semi-military force within the police (OSD).



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