Environmental Scan on Education in Sierra Leone with Particular Reference to Open and Distance Learning and Information and Communication Technologies

by A M Alghali, Edward D A Turay, Ekundayo J D Thompson, Joseph B A Kandeh
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Abstract

The Sierra Leone National Education Master Plan 1997-2006 deals with all aspects of the formal and non-formal sectors of the education system, providing support for basic education, education for the physically challenged, disadvantaged and gifted learners, women and girls' education, technical/vocational and science education, tertiary education, adult continuing education, national languages, and the administration and management of education. The focus of the current government has been on implementing the 6-3-3-4 system of education which the policy regards as the key to Sierra Leone's economic development. In six sections, this report summarizes the goals and targets enunciated for education by the government. Section 1 describes the current educational situation in Sierra Leone, including the use of distance education in its formal education system. It profiles the current primary and adult literacy educational programs in Sierra Leone and provides an overview of current tertiary institutions. Section 2 presents Sierra Leone's current policy on formal and non-formal education, including significant education reforms; distance education and ICT-mediated learning; and initiatives to support open and distance learning (ODL) policies. Section 3 examines the current policies to support use of ICTs in formal education in Sierra Leone. Section 4 explores how ODL and ICTs are currently being used in outreach and extension programs in Sierra Leone. Section 5 discusses priority areas for implementation of ODL initiatives, while Section 6 outlines in tabular form a plan of action for implementation of IDL initiatives. Finally, in considering the opportunities that widespread use of ODL and related activities offer in enhancing access, quality, relevance and equity in education and training in Sierra Leone, this report suggests several recommendations to the government on ODL usage. Appendices 1-11 contain data on education in Sierra Leone. (Contains 8 tables.) [This work was undertaken by the consultants on behalf of the Commonwealth of Learning for presentation at a national forum in Freetown, Sierra Leone, February 16-18, 2005.]

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