After just five months of being elected president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio has today transformed his flagship manifesto pledge into reality. He has launched his ‘Free Quality School Education Programme (FQSEP)’.
The programme will benefit over 1.5 million children across the country, starting from September this year.
Hundreds of thousands of parents will no longer have to struggle to find an average of about £3 (three pounds) a month for their children’s tuition fees, in a country where the government’s minimum wage is about £50 a month for those in employment.
Poverty is rife in Sierra Leone. Average daily income for most Sierra Leoneans is less than £1.50 a day. With inflation now running at over 20% and the value of the Leone at 30% less than it was twelve months ago, fewer households can afford two square meals a day.
Unemployment in Sierra Leone is very high – over 70% of the adult population are out of work, with an adult literacy rate of just 30%.