SABI processes paved the way for the construction of a three-classroom building

A three-classroom building has been constructed for the Kenema District Council Primary School (KMDC) in Panderu Town, Nongowa Chiefdom, Ward 45 in Kenema District to address the problem of inadequate classrooms that has been affecting the performance and enrolment of pupils since 2015. The head teacher Mr, David T Johnson with support from the school management committee members and community people facilitated the construction of a three (3) classrooms building. The challenges faced such as overcrowding, lack of concentration among pupils, ignited the school authorities and ward stakeholders came together and agreed to utilize the school subsidy, performance base finance (PBF) and community contribution of local materials. The school has been in usage by classes one, two and three pupils. Meanwhile, arrangements have been formalized by the school authorities and community people to utilize the forthcoming subsidy and (PBF) which will be used to plaster, pave the inner part of the school and paint for the convenience and effective learning of pupils. The total school population is 400 including males, females and persons with disability.

The school started with three classrooms at the time when the school was providing for classes one, two and three pupils. Due to the increase in admission in September, 2018 academic year, the school population increased. As such, it prompted the school authorities to start using one classroom for two classes. Doing so was initially seen as a positive measure that mitigated the refusal of pupils who seek admission from other communities. However, the situation did not go as anticipated because, the classes were jam packed and distractions increased among pupils and became the order of the day. Teachers were exposed to uncompleted syllabus at the end of the quarter in one academic term which was uprooted from the break teachers were forcibly taking when one class was preoccupied. For instance, one of the teachers said “one classroom was assigned to two classes, a teacher cannot be teaching in class four whilst another teaches in class three simultaneously without any distraction when it comes to primary school pupils”. In essence, a school that used to perform very well and gained accreditation that led to the approval of PBF was now performing poorly in exams, especially the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) said by the deputy head master. The situations that were seen as good gestures became bad as subsequent academic years saw a decrease in enrolment and many parents demanded transfers for their children to other schools which also led to the reduction of  school subsidies, and the performance in the NPSE .

SEND/SABI Programme field officer supported chiefdom leaders and Ward Development committee Members to develop an action plan to resolve challenges that were affecting the education sector in Ward 45, Nongowa Chiefdom. The issue of inadequate classrooms was identified as a major challenge in Panderu KMDEC school. The issue was identified in the community action plans facilitated by Restless Development which was also captured in the development of the ward action plan. The policy literacy activities and Power mapping tool and the REAL Recommendations created a lot of awareness on citizens` rights and responsibility, also the utilization of resources such as school subsidies, chiefdom development funds and social corporate responsibilities of Multinational companies. The accountable governance referral pathways also trigger insight on how ward stakeholders should be channelling communities` challenges to service providers. Base on the widen awareness, ward stakeholders, school authorities and the school management committee suggested using the school subsidies and Performance Based Finance (PBF). so, a meeting was summoned by the ward councilor to discuss the issue. At the meeting, the head teacher presented the challenges to the community people and briefed them on what they had already discussed during the action plan development which was to utilize part of the school subsidies and part of the PBF. From his statement during the meeting, the youth leader Isiaka John said “it is an impressive and proactive step you have taken and we the people will give you our full support as long it is for the development of the community and the ward at large”. In addition, the town chief Abdulai Ngaogia also said “we will support the initiative with open hands and make sure that our supports are tangible”. At the end of the meeting, a consensus agreement was met to utilize the school subsidies and PBF to buy imported materials whiles the town chief and youth leader vowed to provide local materials and in addition with labour for moulding bricks for the extension of the school.

KMDC primary school is located on the high-way to Kailahun and eight (8) miles away from Kenema town-ship in Nongowa chiefdom, Panderu community is attracted to so many people from remote communities in ward 45. As such, there is high urbanization especially among school going pupils to access education. The KMDEC school in Panderu was established in 1952 as a sub-school to KMDC at Hangha. Being a government school and in a populated community, the influx of pupils around that part of the district cannot be underestimated. As such, in 2018, the issue of inadequate classrooms at KMDC school Panderu was identified during the citizens perception survey, beneficiaries from the citizen perception survey (CPS) and Ward development committee members during the citizens’ perception survey data collection process. Action points were developed on how to go about solving the issue. Electoral process, lack of funding in council and unawareness of people to come onboard in identifying and channel issues serve as a setback for the resolution of the problem. As such, the same issue rose again in the development of the 2019 community action plan facilitated by Restless Development and also the development of the ward action plan facilitated by SEND Sierra Leone/SABI field officer. The ward councilor, WDCs and key ward stakeholders decided the addressed the issue. At that juncture, to ensure that the problem was resolved at all cost, stringent action points such as engagement with councilors and community meetings to discuss the issue were developed by the chiefdom leaders and ward development committee members as a stepping stone to solve the problem. 

The problem of inadequate classrooms in KMDC primary Panderu community has been addressed through the utilization of the school subsidies, PBF and community resource mobilization of local materials. pupils of classes one, two and three started utilizing the building in 2019 in the 2018/2019 academic year which was disturbed by the corona virus pandemic. The construction of the school building at panderu is benefiting 141 (out of the total number of 400 from the school population) pupils in classes one, two and three from three outreach communities, namely; Levuma, Gombu and Quedou. As a result, this action has ensured effective learning environment for the pupils towards performance efficiently in classes. According to the deputy head teacher, the additional classroom has now enabled teachers to ensure pupils did not miss the classes.