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Gift of schools in 2 townships gives boost to Sierra Leone

By Alhaji M Kamara | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2017-07-02 13:26

To help boost educational standards in Sierra Leone, the Chinese government has provided two primary schools in the townships of Masingbi and Makeni.

The handover of the buildings took place in Masingbi, in the Tonkolili district of the Northern region.

The event was attended by Minister of Education Minkailu Bah, Samura Kamara, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation; Christiana Thorpe, deputy minister at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Abdulai Sesay, member of parliament for Constituency 63; and Paramount Chief Bai Kuru Kanagbaro Sanka III of the Konekay Chiefdom.

 Gift of schools in 2 townships gives boost to Sierra Leone

Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Wu Peng and Minkailu Bah join major stakeholders for a group photo. The Chinese government has provided two primary schools in the townships of Masingbi and Makeni. Alhaji M Kamara / For China Daily

Speaking during the handover ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Wu Peng highlighted the importance of education in the development of any nation. He said the gift of the two schools was a demonstration of China's support for the development of education in Sierra Leone.

He expressed thanks and appreciation to the education minister for working closely with the Chinese embassy on the projects.

He also paid tribute to the foreign affairs minister for his support and collaboration in all of China's dealings with Sierra Leone, describing him as a true patriot and promoter of relations between the two countries, bringing tangible benefits to his people.

Wu reiterated China's commitment to continue assistance to Sierra Leone in infrastructure development in accordance with the President Xi Jinping post-Ebola recovery priorities.

Delivering the keynote address, the minister of education said China and Sierra Leone had a long-standing relationship dating back in 1971.

"China has done so much for Sierra Leone," he said, recalling that during the Ebola outbreak, while others were leaving, China came and gave unflinching support in the form of medicines, medical equipment, Jui Hospital, the P3 Research Lab and, above all, medical staff including doctors and nurses to help fight the epidemic.

He said China had constructed the Regent to Jui road as a gift to Sierra Leone and in 2008 the Chinese government had built and donated two schools at Fourah Bay College and Yoni chiefdom respectively. China, he said, provides scholarships to many Sierra Leone students to pursue their master's and PhD courses in China.

The education minister said he was optimistic that the two new schools will help to address overcrowding in classrooms and also motivate parents to send their children to school.

He said that during the civil war most schools had been destroyed and the government was still struggling to build new ones to accommodate the high enrollment rate.

"China is a true friend of Sierra Leone, a friend who does not abandon you during turbulent times," he concluded.

Speaking on behalf of the two communities, Bai Kuru Kanagbaro Sanka III thanked the ambassador and the education minister for their timely intervention in promoting education in that part of the country.

He said the construction the school demonstrated China's commitment to improving education, not only in the Western Area but also in rural communities where people are vulnerable.

He said he would ensure that standards are maintained and the learning facilities are taken care of so children continue to benefit.

Expressing their satisfaction with the schools, the people of Konekay Chiefdom gave a performance of singing in the local dialect and dancing, while the children also joined the officials in inspecting the facilities.

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