Sierra Leone History, Religion, Education, and 1300 words Essay; Sierra Leone is rustic in West Africa, at the Atlantic Ocean. It acknowledges the white-sand seashores lining the Freetown Peninsula. The country owes its name to the 15th-century Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra, the first European to sight and map Freetown harbor. The original Portuguese name, Serra Lyoa (“Lion Mountains”), referred to the range of hills that surrounds the harbor. The capital, Freetown, commands one of the world’s largest natural harbors.
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Although most of the population engages in subsistence agriculture, Sierra Leone is also a mining center. Its land yields diamonds, gold, bauxite, and rutile (titanium dioxide). Internal conflict crippled the country from the late 1980s onward, culminating in a brutal civil war that took place from 1991 to 2002. Since the end of the war, the government of Sierra Leone has undergone the arduous task of rebuilding the country’s physical and social infrastructure while fostering reconciliation. A critique of the Sierra Leone Education Policy;
History of Sierra Leone;
This discussion focuses on Sierra Leone from the 15th century. For a treatment of earlier periods and the country in its regional context, see western Africa, history of. Archaeological findings show that Sierra Leone has been inhabited for thousands of years. Traditional historiography has customarily presented it as peopled by successive waves of invaders, but the language pattern suggests that the coastal Bulom (Sherbro), Temne, and Limba have been in continuous settled occupation for a long time, with subsequent sporadic immigration from inland by Mande-speaking peoples, including Vai, Loko, and Mende. They organized themselves in small political units—independent kingdoms or chiefdoms—whose rulers’ powers existed checked by councils. Secret societies, notably the Poro society, also exercised political power, as well as instructing initiates in the customs of the country.
Education and Practices of Uncertainty in Sierra Leone; Also, Education was historically valued in Sierra Leone as a possession that conveyed and expressed elite status, with the revered, authoritative teacher being the gatekeeper. The erosion of teachers’ authority through government policies designed to universalize access to education has called into question the once-certain high status of the educated. With the future now ambiguous, students and teachers undertake “practices of uncertainty,” engaging in symbolic boundary work to distinguish themselves from the uneducated; but at the same time undertaking the same manual labor as the unschooled.
They socially level the elite and concurrently seek entrée to their networks; and react to an uncertain future with contradictory practices. The work undertaken by students and teachers lies within and reinforces extant social values that emphasize the importance of both distinction and belonging, revealing education’s enduring value in the social imaginary. This explains the tenacity of the idea of education even in a persistently desultory employment climate.
About two-thirds of the population are Muslims, while about one-fourth are Christians. Less than one-tenth of the population practice a variety of traditional religions. However, this number does not include the many Sierra Leoneans who practice traditional religions in tandem with their professed Muslim or Christian faiths. Other religions—including Bahāʾī, Hinduism, and Judaism—are practiced by small percentages of the population.
Liberalization and Conflict;
Externally encouraged policies of liberalization in Sierra Leone in the 1970s and 1980s fed into civil war in the 1990s; yet such policies are now being revived. This article analyzes the impact of liberalization on the war in Sierra Leone, suggesting that it affected the conflict in four ways; first, by encouraging inflation, extreme devaluation, and private oligopolies; second, by reducing key state services such as education and health; third, by fueling corruption as real state salaries were cut; and fourth, by taking attention away from soldiers’ abuses under the military government of 1992-96; a government that existed praised and rewarded for its liberalization agenda.
This paper posits that continued adherence to the inherited British model constitutes one of the major problems inherent in the educational system in Sierra Leone and that the introduction of what the author is calling critical African drama could constitute a major and specific step toward the decolonization and Africanization of education in Sierra Leone.
The standard of education in Sierra Leone before and immediately after independence was one of the best around the world. With the University of Sierra Leone established in 1827, Sierra Leone stood dubbed, “Athens of West Africa”. But that educational system fell on hard times. Over a long period of neglect, the country witnessed an erosion of standards in its educational system. From 1970 to 1985, the average growth rate for primary school enrollment was slightly more than 6.0 percent; while that for secondary school enrollment was just over 6.5 percent. From 1985 to 1990, the average annual growth rate for primary school enrollment fell to 2.0 percent; while that for secondary school enrollment fell to 1.6 percent. Besides these enrollment concerns, the outputs of institutions at the technical/vocational and teacher education levels had also been found wanting.
Government education policy;
The goals are:
- Reduction and relief of poverty using education
- Significant increase in the literacy rate
- Free and compulsory quality Basic Education
- Gender equity in access to and participation in education
- Increase in access to quality education at post-Junior Secondary School level
- Empowerment of youth through education
- Increased access to education for the disadvantaged and disabled
- Decrease in regional and district disparities in access and quality education
- Greater decentralization of education and devolution of authority by the increase in community ownership of schools.
The government has progressively increased allocation to the Education sector to about 23% of the national budget. This increased allocation has facilitated improved access to fundamental quality education.
Religion within education;
The Sierra Leone constitution provides freedom of religion and the government generally protects this right and does not tolerate its abuse. About religion in Sierra Leone, the predominant faith is Islam, which is practiced by around 60% of the population; 30% adhere to Christianity, and 10% adhere to their indigenous religions. Unlike many other African countries, the religious and tribal mix of Sierra Leone rarely causes religious or tribal conflict.
The nature of schooling costs in Sierra Leone; Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world with a literacy level of 51%. The government has officially abolished school fees; however, families still have to cover various education-related costs for their children.