MBSSE, together with GPE and UNICEF launch study report on National Early Grade Reading Assessment/Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGRA EGMA)
Freetown – The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), with support from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has launched a report on the National Early Grade Reading Assessment/Early Grade Mathematics Assessment study, which was undertaken last year.
The assessment was conducted among 476 teachers, 244 head teachers and 4,729 students (50 percent girls) from 260 schools from across all the 16 districts, with the aim to understand the systemic issues that affect children’s learning at school, district, and national level.
"We intend to seize upon this opportunity that the EGRA/EGMA studies offers to understand better our educational stresses in these early grades with renewed determination to close these gaps and improve on these shortfalls," said Dr. Moinina David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.
The national launch event was therefore organised to disseminate the study report findings and further initiate a positive way forward towards addressing the systemic drivers that underpin children’s ability to learn numeracy and literacy.
Based on the results of the study, an improvement has been noted in students’ performance compared to results achieved during a similar assessment in 2014, indicating a reduction in non-readers between years. Most schools were noted to have basic materials available for teaching core subjects, including maths textbooks (95 per cent) and English for Specific Purposes textbooks (84 per cent).
Other key findings from the study, which require action are that only one in four students attended pre-primary school before starting primary school. The report also highlights a diminishing trend in enrollment between early grades and grade six, an indication of a high drop-out rate from lower to upper primary and an indication of high rates of students repeating grades throughout the primary cycle – especially in grade one.
“This report brings important insight into the challenges on early grade learning in Sierra Leone,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of Global Partnership for Education. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Government and partners to create system level transformation to improve learning outcomes for all children in the country.”
To address the identified bottlenecks, key recommendations are outlined in the assessment report including a suggestion for the establishment of alternative education programmes for overage children who leave formal basic education, so that they continue accessing education.
Additionally, it is recommended that students should start school at the right time (age 6) and with the right foundation, which is ideally gained through early childhood development programmes or pre-primary school. This would help reduce stress on the system and reduce repetition in the early grades.
“UNICEF remains dedicated to support the Government of Sierra Leone in the delivery of quality learning opportunities for every child. We believe that improving the numeracy and literacy skills of students from early primary grades, lays the right foundation for improved academic performance of students in the future,” said UNICEF Representative, (OIC) Ms. Liv Elin Indreiten.
The study, which was conducted by Montrose International, was overseen by a learning assessment Technical Steering Committee (SC) led by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and comprising members from the Directorates of Planning and Policy, and Quality Assurance at MBSSE, the Change Unit, GPE Coordinator, representatives from universities and pre-service teacher training institutions and UNICEF.
For more information, please contact:
- Brima Michael Turay | Public Relations Officer | Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. Email | firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +232 76 450134
- Tamara Kummer | GPE media lead | Email: email@example.com | Tel: +33 7 82 26 07 18
- Tapuwa Loreen Mutseyekwa | UNICEF Communications Specialist | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +232 76 100532
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.