Constitutional & Legal Foundations
The constitutional foundation on which the new educational structure is anchored can be found in Decree No. 4 of 1994, which established the National Commission for Basic Education. The military government, the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC), which was in power in 1994, designed a wide-ranging National Education Action Plan to support basic education reform that aims to provide basic education for the majority of the population, as well as to enhance the participation of women and girls in the process of education.
According to the guiding principles, objectives, and strategies for education in Sierra Leone outlined in the New Education Policy publication, the control of education shall continue to be in accordance with the existing Education Act. The general aim of education operates within the framework of the Constitution and other international agreements on education to which Sierra Leone is a signatory or with which Sierra Leone is in agreement. The general aim of education in Sierra Leone is the integral development of the individual with the aim of building a free, just, and peace-loving society with a sustainable and dynamic economy. The rationale behind the new policies can be found in the following principles:
- Every child shall be encouraged to have between one and three years of preparation at nursery school or kindergarten.
- Each child shall start formal education at the age of six years.
- Basic formal education shall last for nine years. It shall ultimately be free and compulsory.
- Formal education shall be broad-based with practical programs that lead to skills acquisition.
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