Sierra Leone: The power of great teaching

The Ebola crisis that plagued the country in 2014-2016 had an unexpected consequence: the renewed discovery that providing the best teachers possible will ensure that children learn.

January 29, 2020 by GPE Secretariat
2 minutes read
Students in class at the KDEC Pre-Primary School Masorie. Sierra Leone.
Students in class at the KDEC Pre-Primary School Masorie. Sierra Leone.
GPE/Ludovica Pellicioli

In August 2014, Mariama was attending summer school in Freetown, Sierra Leone, when she heard that classes were ending because of a deadly epidemic called Ebola. She suddenly found herself having to stay home with her family, worried, bored, and wondering how she was going to keep up with her schoolwork.

While she was home, the Ministry of Education and its partners were actively working to ensure learning could continue while schools nationwide were closed. UNICEF coordinated an emergency response plan that included educational radio programming, training teachers to provide psychosocial support to students, and distributing more than 80,000 portable radios across the country.

US$1.5 million of the GPE grant to the country were re-allocated as emergency response to these efforts and to prepare schools to reopen.

The Government called on the country’s best teachers to develop and broadcast lessons to give children around the country some respite from the worry and boredom and help them keep up with their schoolwork. The radio program also had an unexpected consequence – it gave thousands of students across the country their first chance to learn from a great teacher.

Watch our video to see the program’s impact on three Sierra Leonean students and learn how GPE is working with the Government to reform how teachers are recruited, trained and dispatched.

Because every child deserves a great teacher all the time.

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Sub-Saharan Africa: Sierra Leone

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This is a great story and inspiration for all our decision makers in the education development space reacting to COVID-19

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