Street Child was thrilled to see prominent education campaign promises translated into a series of very exciting policy pledges in President Bio's speech at the opening of Parliament this week in Sierra Leone.

Two pledges were especially eye-catching.

Firstly, President Bio has pledged to increase education expenditure as a share of national Government expenditure to 20%, from 11%. With an economy as small as Sierra Leone's it will still be a struggle to deliver quality education for all at 20%, but it will undoubtedly enable major progress - in particular if the economy is able to grow.

Secondly, he pledged to make all primary and secondary education free from this September. The practicalities of realising this and precisely how this manifests itself remain to be seen but either way, it is a giant step forwards in intent to making education available to all - regardless of wealth. Education in Sierra Leone has for too long been beyond the reach of the poorest in society - a re-enforcing cycle of poverty. This has to be addressed. 

We were also encouraged by his statements and intentions on teacher motivation and training; school construction and expansion and educational access for pregnant girls and disabled children - amongst other areas. The full speech can be read here.

Street Child warmly welcomes all these developments and stands ready to be the strongest possible partner to the Sierra Leone Government in all credible initiatives to see quality basic education truly accessible to all.  

Street Child