Friday, 13 March 2015

To School or Not to School

I had a post all typed up and ready to publish about the schools reopening here in Sierra Leone on 31st March.......then I heard this morning that the reopening of the schools has been pushed back two weeks until 14th April!
I'll just edit the dates and post away......

It's been announced that the schools here in Sierra Leone will reopen on 14th April .............but the number of confirmed Ebola cases is still in double figures most days.....with the majority of cases being in Western Area Rural - which is where I and most of our sponsored students live.

BECE students were to start back at school on 16th March and sit their exams on 24th March, this has also been pushed back but I'm not sure by how much yet.

The plan is to have one long term that will run through to July - but I don't see how a while year's teaching can be fitted into 2.5 or 3 months.
 I would love to hold a parents meeting to discuss what best to do about our students, but that's not possible because public gatherings are currently banned here. I am meeting with the parents, family or guardians of each sponsored students individually and talking it over with each of them. The general consensus so far seems to be:
  • the families of the primary school children want to wait until September for their children to go back to school
  • our BECE (Basic Education Certificate Examination - the exam students sit at the end of their third year of secondary school) students will sit their exams on the date yet to be announced  (was to be 24th March, but this has been delayed)
  • for the other secondary school students we are going to monitor things over the next few weeks and take each one on a case by case basis....but unless the Ebola numbers go down drastically I think a lot of the families will keep their children out of school until September
I want the decision of when the students go back to school to be made by the students and their families. The students need to feel safe in school and the families need to be able to relax when their kids are in school and not spend all day worrying if they will get sick by attending school - I will go along with whatever each family decides.

Sponsorship donations that have been made while the schools have been closed have been added to the student's accounts and will be used to provide extra lessons and additional text when they do finally go back to school they will be well equipped to catch up on the schooling they have missed.

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