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Afrobarometer survey reveals… 73% Sierra Leoneans benefit from free education

A survey conducted by Afrobarometer in collaboration with the Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) has revealed that 73% of Sierra Leoneans have directly benefited from the Free Quality School Education program (FQSE), which was introduced by the government in August 2018.

According to the Research and Policy Director of the Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), Fredline A. O. M’Cormack-Hale, those in the rural areas (78%) benefited more than those in the city.

She disclosed to this medium that there was an increase in the number of people who got access to public schools in 2018, and added that the program also allowed family members to access public schools in 2019.

She said accruing to the report, in 2018, 28% people said they had access to public schools, while in 2019 number increased to 57% that had access to public schools.

The study indicated that people, who have less poverty, would be more likely to be the ones who said they are benefiting from the FQSE.

“There is also drastic drop of accepting bribes to access these public schools. In 2018, 33% of people say they had to bribe to acquire public services but this has gone down to 20%. It shows great improvement, a new Afrobarometer survey shows.

She described in the survey that, 53% of citizens mentioned that the quality had increased, and 81% of people said government should invest more resources to provide FQSE.

She urged government to continue providing free education for all pupils even if it leads to an increase in the number of educated citizens who cannot acquire a job.

She suggested that in order to save on costs, it would be better if the free education policy can only applied to the poor who cannot afford to pay for education, rather than extending it to all citizens.

“To save on costs, it would be better if FQSE policy only applied to pre-primary and primary education, and did not include secondary education,” she suggested.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life, and the this survey was conducted in March 2020 with 1,200 adult Sierra Leoneans that were partaken in the process.

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