Education is an indispensable factor in the district’s development, since it creates awareness and increase the rate of acceptance and implementation of new ideas, and tends to facilitate the infusion of improved technology. The educational status analyzed comprises the number of schools, participation rate, the teacher-pupil ratio, educational status, condition of schools, problems affecting and potentials for improvement.
The literacy rate in the district is about 30% which is at par with the national average of 30%. This can be attributed to the location of the district between the two capitals, where the pupil can easily commute to access educational facilities. Adult literacy (literacy of 16 years and above) is found to be 5%. The female literacy is found to be 3%. The low literacy rate of females gives the opportunity to enroll more females in the adult literacy classes in order to narrow the gap between male and female. Most females drop out of school to engage in other economic activities to support their families.
Viewed against the background of low participation rate, it puts the educational status of the district in an unfavourable position, which requires several efforts to improve. This situation is reported to be due to the level of poverty in the district and therefore, access to second cycle education of children in the district is limited.
District Education Statistics
The statistics of education is as follows:
The participation rate is the proportion of the school-going population (6 – 17 years) who are actually in school. The pre-school enrolment is improving. Gross primary school enrolment has also increased significantly and still continues. In all the school stages, gross female participation fall below that of males. There is considerably a fall of participation rates at the senior secondary school level. This is much worse for females whose rate stands at 10.1%. However, the main reason for such low enrolment is attributed to the closeness of the district to Freetown and Bo as quite a good number of parents prefer to send their children to secondary schools in these cities. The poverty rate in the district also is a contributing factor. The proximity of the district to Freetown and Bo also makes it easy for people living in the district to access general and specialist educational services in these towns.
The Teacher -Pupil ratio gives an indication of the number of pupils that teachers take care in the teaching-learning process. It is an indicator used to assess the adequacy and capacity of teachers in relation to pupils. The Teacher-pupil ratio stands at 1:48, 1:38 and 1:35 for primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schools, respectively. While the rates appear better than the national figures, they however do not portray the best. Looking at the number of eligible children who are out of school it means that more teachers are needed in the district. It is therefore necessary to note that if more pupils are to be enrolled in all the cycles, there is the need for a serious drive to increase enrollment of children from all ages.
Quality of Education
There has been some improvement in the quality of education in the district, although there is the general view that there is low performance of pupils in the core subject areas like Mathematics, and Sciences. On the whole, literacy levels, especially for the girl child, are much lower than boys in the district.
Condition of Schools and Qualifications of Teachers
The Moyamba District Council Inspectorate Office graded the school infrastructure in the district as fairly good. Most of these structures were damaged during the war. Although some have been rehabilitated or built, but following the current demand in school attendance there are still need for attention to be paid, and some areas need new schools. Many teachers are not qualified but these have to be accommodated since qualified teachers are not easily available.
Problems of the Education Sector
The general problems that the district faces in the educational sector are summed up in the following points:
- High rate of dropout of the youths population
- Overcrowding in schools; high teacher/pupil ratio, low pupil performance
- Inadequate technical vocational institutions
- Inadequate trained and qualified teachers
- Inadequate school structures, lack of maintenance of school buildings
- Low community participation
- Low morale of teachers, untimely payment of personnel, lack of staff quarters
- Inadequate furniture, teaching and learning materials in schools
- Inability of some parents to pay school fees