Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Civic Education, Hon Chernor Bah has in a keynote address at the International Seminar on Girls’ and Women’s Education said that President Bio is using the magic bullet of education to change the story of Sierra Leone. The event which was organized by UNESCO and top Chinese Universities was held on 28thSeptember 2023 in Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

The Hon Minister, who has been an activist for Girls and women’s empowerment, highlighted the remarkable transformation that has taken place in Sierra Leone’s Education since the people elected His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio in 2018.

Prior to that, the Minister noted that Sierra Leone was defined by conflict, Ebola and a very high rate of illiteracy which in turn led to high rates of maternal and child mortality. He revealed that five years ago, president Bio made a radical choice- to not just invest in education but to particularly focus on removing all barriers for girls and women to access education.  “It is an investment that is paying off” the minister beamed. “We have achieved gender parity in basic education and if you are a girl studying the sciences, you are guaranteed free education all the way through university” minister Bah revealed to a thunderous applause and admiration of the international audience. He said Sierra Leone prides itself as one of the top spenders on education in Africa- with over 20% of the country’s national budget being spent on education.

He recalled that during his days of activism, one of the issues he was well known for was getting pregnant girls back to school but the government at that time led by Former President Ernest Koroma frustrated that vision when he banned pregnant girls from attending school.

However, the Minister’s dream manifested when President Julius Maada Bio took over the reins of power in 2018. “The President adopted a new policy for radical inclusion which guarantees every girl the right to education either pregnant or not,” the Hon Minister averred. ‘Such action including the radical inclusion has defined Sierra Leone as a global champion in education’, the Minister said.

In a similar tone, the Minister asserted that such transformation over the past five years means that Sierra Leone has drastically and significantly reduced maternal and infant mortality.

In his conclusion, the erudite Information and Civic Education Minister hammered out that investment in Girls and women’s education means investment in all other sectors ranging from health, climate change, infrastructure, agriculture to name but a few. He was also optimistic that Sierra Leone would not have gone through those dark days if there was massive investment in girls and women’s education as it is now under President Julius Maada Bio’s Government. The Minister added that inclusive Education is the magic bullet to tackle the world’s problem in health, climate change, infrastructure and all.

The just concluded International Seminar on Girls’ and Women’s Education in Beijing brought together policymakers, educators, and experts from around the world to discuss ways and means aimed at promoting gender equality and empowerment for girls and women through education.