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AFK
Reply with quote  #1 
I did a guesstimate for the yearly budget Sierra Leone will need in order to have a free secondary education. I factored in the expectation that the number of secondary school going population will increase threefold and similarly the number of teachers will increase proportionately. Also, taken into consideration is that school supplies, security, and other incidental expenses will increase proportionally. Finally, additions to the present school buildings would have to be made to accommodate the increase in secondary school population. Taking all of these into consideration, I came up with a conservative estimate for a budget of $ 15 million to add new structures to schools and a budget of $50 million per year to carry out this added financial burden to run a free secondary education program. But where will all of the money come from? Is this a well thought out plan? Could this plan have waited until after a thorough assessment of our financial situation has been made? Why rush a program like this when you have been complaining since your swearing-in last month that the APC has wrecked the economy. Every one of the major activities your SLPP has embarked on in the past 5 weeks is fraught with problems and all because of poor planning. You have not had sufficient time to rationalize on the capacity of our nation to carry out this big burden given our present financial obligations and obligations in the pipeline that we have already been committed to. Mr. president you are in the wrong direction. Politics is getting the better part of you. What we need are pragmatism and rational thinking. You got the people praise singing your name today because of your promises but what would the future bring. Think before you act. Lonta.
Kamabai
Reply with quote  #2 
There you go again. Typical Tolongbo thinking - wait, wait, wait while they loot public funds.  Where will the funds come from?  From shaking down Ernest Koroma and his thieving ministers.

Look, president Maada Bio is surrounded by men and women that are far more brilliant than AFK.  Do you understand anything in Economics, Finance and Accounting to undertake national income accounting?  Bo go sidom nar u corner ya.  You love to criticize but when it comes to proferring solutions you are a dunce.

The free primary school and secondary school program will commence in September 2018.  And it will be sustainable.   We don't need the input of a useless Tolongbo to transform Sierra Leone.  You had your opportunity and you blew it.  Stay on the sideline as we lift Sierra Leone up high.

You did a guesstimate.  SLPP did real detailed estimates.  Big difference.

AFK
Reply with quote  #3 
'You did a guesstimate.  SLPP did real detailed estimates.  Big difference.'

You must be kidding me.
Have all the ministers been confirmed?
When did Bio have time in the 5 weeks since he was sworn in to sit with his ministers and technocrats to look into the existing budget in order to come up with rational and detailed estimate?
Were Bio and the SLPP boot lickers not crying that the kitty is empty? How did we go from an empty kitty to assuring people about establishing a free secondary education program that is sustainable?
What about competing sectors like health, agriculture and food security, and social services? is our national budget not under enough strain already to absorb such immense new expenditures?

Look man Bio needs to convene many meetings with experts in order to arrive at rational programs in the interest of Sierra Leone. We all love free education but we have to measure our ability to provide it. Come September will there be enough spaces to accommodate increases in school enrollments? Would there be enough teachers to accommodate the expected increases in school population? Mind you September is just 4 months away. 
KLet us be serious. 
Kamabai
Reply with quote  #4 
AFK,

When you indulge in debating analytical issues like free education in a developing country, I expect you raise your level of debate through an in-depth understanding of the issues on the ground.  So far, I have not been impressed by your arguments.  So, in what that follows, I will try to make things clear so that you would have a better understanding of the environment in which Bio and the SLPP have been working.

First, March 7 was not the first time that Julius Bio had ran for the presidency.  Bio is a seasoned politician with a clear understanding of Sierra Leone's political and economic landscape.

Second, Bio did not have to wait for his ministers to be confirmed before discussing the cornerstone of his New Direction policy - education.  Bio had a Transition Team, which as you well know, is filled with men and women that are far smarter than AFK.

Third, Bio and his men have not only embarked on an aggressive domestic revenue mobilization scheme but have also in a very short time been able to shut down all the institutional leakages in government that Ernest Koroma paid no attention to. For example, it has been discovered that tax revenues in the millions of dollars have been going into the personal accounts and pockets of Tolongbo operatives.  Wait and see how many of your friends will be retiring in Pademba Road Prisons.

Fourth, Sierra Leone does not have to wait for foreign aid to implement programs that are vital to its citizenry.  Yes, the kitty was empty when Bio took over but domestic revenue sources exist that can fund a free education program without neglecting other sectors of the economy like healthcare. 

Look man, I know that you are praying very hard for Bio to fail and that you mean no good for Sierra Leone.  As a Tolongbo, your only interest in Sierra Leone revolves around what you can steal for yourself and your family.  Thus, you feel threatened by a progressive government working to transform the millions of lives which you and your Tolongbo gangsters destroyed.  But the advice that I have for you is to stay on the sideline and campaign against Bio and the SLPP in 2023 if they failed.  For now, no amount of rubbish that comes out of your mouth will stop Bio and the SLPP.
Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #5 

AFK,

I was going to butt in at the earliest stage to pre-empt the expected vicious lashings from the self-appointed, local anti-Tolongbo Brigade ( Brigadiers), but alas I'm few minutes too late!

You keep on opening yourself up to all kinds of attacks for the simple reason that helter-skelter you are all jazzed up to oppose each and everything that the SLPP proposes – even good moves such as putting your own kith and kin in school, for free...

We have discussed this issue before, and you keep returning to it with your usual defeatist pessimism – premised on the idea that Sierra Leoneans should not have a right to free primary and secondary school education because it's going to cost more than successive, corrupt government officials along with their political appointees in cahoots with all kinds of compliant civil servants with whom they work hand in glove, have looted.

In essence, I guess that what your anti-Tolongbo forces and I too am going to say is this : The New Direction plans for Education are ambitious, and rightly so but can be fulfilled with the help of efficient management and the putting to good use of the country's resources even if it's an economy which is still donor-driven; but it can be done with a little help from our other friends in UNESCO, VSO, Peace Corps, others volunteers, you , me, etc.... etc. etc. etc.

It will not be accomplished overnight or all at once but it will prove to be the secure foundations on which all future development is going to be built...

I'm now rushing off to meet a Tolongbo Bro who is fresh from Sierra Leone...

Will get back to you more fully

Later.

Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #6 
Corn, it’s not uncommon for supporters of the losing side in a bitterly contested election to lose it. Happened to many Democrats after The Clown beat their Queen in Nov 2016.
Kamabai
Reply with quote  #7 
Cornelius,

Thank you very much for your brilliant analysis.  The error is AFK's arguments is that he is assuming that Sierra Leone's resources were efficiently allocated under the APC government hence if that government could not afford free education, then there is no way the SLPP can afford one.  I hope upon reading your comments our brother will reflect on his error in judgment.
Yusif#08
Reply with quote  #8 
I have tried to avoid this topic, however, I think I should make my honest contribution on it. For starters, Bio should have outlined his free education plan with details and how he expects to accomplish such a difficult task. Educating a country that has educationally regressed over the years is no easy feat. It takes money, qualified human personnel, resources related to educating the children, and devise a curriculum that would prepare students  for employment in the 21st century, and the global community. In the absence of the aforementioned, Bio will not accomplish his goals. Methinks Bio should quickly recruit persons acquainted with educating children because using political appointments to such positions is dangerous, and would lead to the abuse of resources assigned to educating children. 
Kamabai
Reply with quote  #9 
"Bio will not accomplish his goals. Methinks Bio should quickly recruit persons acquainted with educating children because using political appointments to such positions is dangerous, and would lead to the abuse of resources assigned to educating children."  Yusif #08


Yusif,

As you have stated, you really should have avoided contributing to this debate because notwithstanding your negativity toward a noble and viable idea, you don't know anything about how a free education program works in a developing country.

How would abolishing tuition and other fees in primary and secondary schools in Sierra Leone require the recruitment of "persons acquainted with educating children"?  Don't the existing schools have teachers and aren't our colleges and universities producing qualified teachers?  Did Bio ever mention that he was appointing folks to educate the children?

This is the problem you encounter when you attempt to analyze issues that you don't know anything about or when you try to politicize an idea that is purely economic and social. 

You Tolongbos will be put to shame when Sierra Leone's transformation starts in earnest.  
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #10 
We cannot afford to manufacture anymore illiterate people if we want to make progress.

I support free education for primary and secondary schools. It won’t be easy but the government has to start somewhere.

When Western Nigeria PM, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, SAN, of the Action Group launched free primary education in 1955, folks in the other regions thought he was nuts. Years later it was clear that the program had left an indelible footprint in sphere of education.

Yusif#08
Reply with quote  #11 
Kamabai,

Garbage in, garbage out. Free education without a plan. What are the educational outcomes, and how do you get there? What would be the mile stones to check and see if these milestone have been met? I am ahead of you... in terms educational leadership, and what it takes to run a successful school system, and how to best prepare students to meet 21st century work demands. Please do not play with our kids life, they need to be able to compete in the employment world. Lets do it the right way.
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #12 
Yusuf#08, for all we know, they may have a plan that they had been working on for some time.

Time will tell if they can deliver. But right now, I think it is a very worthy cause which should be pursued.

Yusif#08
Reply with quote  #13 
True!!!
Kamabai
Reply with quote  #14 
Yusif #08,

You made me laugh.  Do you know me and do you know what I do for a living?  I was already a professional in the education industry when you were still in college.  I am going by your information that Maada Bio was your class mate.  I know when Bio was at AU. 

I may not be older than you but you certainly do not have my length of experience or my level of sophistication in academia.  You think it is everybody in this forum that you can ride roughshod over?  Becareful!!! Because next time I may not be this kind.

It is okay to criticize Bio's plan.  But I find it foolish and childish for you to insinuate that Bio and his men do not know what they are doing.
DMK
Reply with quote  #15 
Bio has impressed me a lot with the level of detail in his speech to parliament. I believe he has a good team around him. The challenges pointed out here to a free education scheme are real and will make improving the education system difficult but I am optimistic. They need to start somewhere and if they do nothing else but remove the fees in the first instance it will lift a huge burden off a lot of families.

The addition of new capacity, the improvement in teaching standards and all the other good things we all want will take time. A commitment to spend 20% of government funds on education will go a long way. Support from 'development partners' has been sought and I'm sure promises made. Let's ask what we can each and all do to help rather than cry down the attempt.
Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #16 
A great difference , a new beginning, New Direction : 

"They need to start somewhere and if they do nothing else but remove the fees in the first instance it will lift a huge burden off a lot of families." ( DMK) 

Apart from the APC  having failed to do this (since the beginnings of the APC and during all their vast years in power / office ) what objection would AFK or any of the cynics/ pessimists have to such a humanitarian move? 
AFK
Reply with quote  #17 
Listen folks the education program is a very noble program but you would agree that like all other major programs, there need to be effective planning before it is carried out. I worked in the New York State government doing research and when ever the Governor of the state of New York wants to change a policy or introduce a new one they seek our expertise in determining the cost impact on government or the savings that would be realized as a result of the initiative. Basically, the New York State government made sure they utilize experts in the affected departments to provide them with objective data to back them up. 
Of immense importance is the timing of Bio's education program. The timing may seem trivial to some but in reality the education program is a huge undertaking that requires many things to be in place before it is carried out. Thousands of villagers quit school because of inability to pay school fees. When they re-enroll, will the schools have the capacity to absorb them all? Similarly problems loom as a result of the shortage of qualified teachers. The number of teachers will have to rise proportionate to the rise in number of new additions to the school population. So, I ask my esteemed friends in this forum, do you really think that four months to the start of the education program is a good idea?
I think that we should begin to utilize the vast resources in our departments efficiently in order to move the country forward. Bio should convene meetings with the experts at the education department with the facts and figures to make the education program work.  
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #18 
“So, I ask my esteemed friends in this forum, do you really think that four months to the start of the education program is a good idea?”Empire State AFK

Answer: And the assembled led by the indomitable Uncle Corn of Stockholm responded to the exasperated Empire State AFK with a mighty YES!!!
Tolongbo!!!

Ow u see am AFK?
Krio Boy
Reply with quote  #19 
I really like how Kamabai, Cornelius, DMK and Spectator 007 are putting some sense into the skulls of the naysayers.  Thanks guys.  We have to start somewhere.
Knice
Reply with quote  #20 
Why do some forumites think Bio does not have a plan? Free education was a core issue in his campaign. I am also assuming that he had a team of 'capable' advisers surrounding him during the campaign, and perhaps even before that. Bio has been waiting awhile and presumably planning for his opportunity in State House. Is it therefore possible on his core issue, that the man is so well prepared he is hitting the ground running? It is not nice, but I cannot resist the temptation to remind my APC friends that on education Bio is demonstrating one of the core differences between the APC and the SLPP. For the APC education is a privilege; for the SLPP it is so essential that it should be free. 
Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #21 

AFK'S persistence is irritating in the extreme, is what Rev. Sam Foray would probably say causes "vexation of the spirit”. Hopefully, after a few more exchanges AFK will finally see the light and turn his old APC head around in another direction, for the better, for a New Direction

Given the expertise which AFK claims, when he worked for the New York State government “doing research”, you would think that as the patriot/ nationalist that he insists he is, he would volunteer that expertise not just to pick up some coins for his daily bread in New York, but for his motherland and the children of Sierra Leone too, including that old SLPP niche, “ the education of the girl child”.

For AFK : take a good look at Literacy Rates per country

AFK's most serious concern, concisely expressed : “Thousands of villagers quit school because of inability to pay school fees. When they re-enroll, will the schools have the capacity to absorb them all? Similarly problems loom as a result of the shortage of qualified teachers. The number of teachers will have to rise proportionate to the rise in number of new additions to the school population” (AFK)

In effect AFK is saying that if you can't do everything, then do nothing: that the program should not go ahead until every every detail is perfectly in place. In my opinion, the “thousands of villagers “ who stopped going to school or never started going to school because they could not or cannot afford to pay school fees , such children / men and women should not continue to suffer or be deprived of their equal rights to education, because AFK doubts that “the schools have the capacity to accommodate them all” – at whatever levels they return to school or start school.

Of course, those logistics will have to be worked out - as has happened in Cuba and China, Zimbabwe and Barbados among other places. And unemployed graduates will be drafted into teacher-training and teaching, and a national service ( something like Nigeria's NYSC will contribute to the work force ( generating greater social mobility within the country, one of the effects if which should be that this promotes greater understanding and inter-dependence between folks in this one country , one people scheme of things....

Re - “So, I ask my esteemed friends in this forum, do you really think that four months to the start of the education program is a good idea?”

What he really meant to ask was " Do you really think that four months to the start of the school year is a good time to start implementing the New Direction education program?”

DMK, Knice and other have answered that question, but AFK probably wants to hear it from Brer Bio the lion's mouth and after to criticize every effort every step of the way , until APC literacy is 100% ( Zero % tolerance for illiteracy )

 

Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #22 
How does are level of literacy rank when compared to other African nations?

http://www.darasaletu.com/2016/12/top-ten-10-of-literacy-rate-for-african.html?m=1

Will I hear everyone say in unison “lie-ji-la” after they see our ranking?
Abu Bakarr
Reply with quote  #23 
Spectator,

It is APC's fault.  APC emphasizes the rarray boy, street corner value and Paddle mentality. That is why Tolongbo is opposed to president Bio's free education program.
Yusif#08
Reply with quote  #24 
Kamabai writes -  
"I was already a professional in the education industry when you were still in college.  I am going by your information that Maada Bio was your class mate.  I know when Bio was at AU."

Kamabai,

My time at AU was not my first time at schooling. I was there to garner my third and fourth degrees. And prior to that I was in the education field before working in the corporate world, only to realize that the corporate world is not for black men. By the way, you don't have to be nice to me. Lets just keep the conversation clean. No need to introduce the use of mamy cus.
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #25 
“And prior to that I was in the education field before working in the corporate world, only to realize that the corporate world is not for black men.“ - Yusuf #08

In your experience, are the obstacles black men face in corporate America the same for Africans, Caribbean, and Africans? Is it similar for black men and women?
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #26 
Correction

“In your experience, are the obstacles black men face in corporate America the same for African-American, Caribbean folks, and Africans? Is it similar for black men and women?”
Yusif#08
Reply with quote  #27 
Specky,

You need to devise research questions to get answers to your query. Good luck on your assignment.
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #28 
No problem Yusuf#08.
Knice
Reply with quote  #29 
What irrefutable documentation of our slide! At independence the Congo boasted less than a dozen university graduates; Sierra Leone was just the opposite, with Law firms lined up along Westmoreland Street. Now the Congo is ahead of us in literacy. Not surprising since we pursued a policy of education as a privilege and not a necessity or a right..
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #30 
Nigeria is at 68.0% literacy but that’s because of the extremly low level of literacy in northern states. Check the southern states, many over 80% and several over 90% literary rate.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/guardian.ng/news/despite-decades-of-funding-literacy-level-in-the-northern-states-remains-low/amp

Despite low levels of literacy northerners have been more adept (through the minority Fulani) at acquiring political power than southerners even though the population between north and south and Christian and Muslim is about the same.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/guardian.ng/news/despite-decades-of-funding-literacy-level-in-the-northern-states-remains-low/amp
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