Education System in Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone in the bight of Africa, the first 9 years of education are mandatory in law, but impractical owing to the shortage of facilities left over from the ravages of war. The 6 years of primary education are free too, as are the 3 years that follow on at junior secondary school, at least for girls in the northern and eastern regions.
Children enter junior secondary school at around age 12, and stay there typically until age 15. Subjects are academic. Urban children are structurally favored. Worst off are girls in rural areas, where cultural beliefs may not support their education at all.
At senior secondary schools, students studying there for 3 years have a choice between either continuing their academic education with perhaps a view on university, or shifting to vocational education where they learn more practical skills. Despite these opportunities, the literacy rate among 15- to 24-year olds remains below 60%.
Efforts directed towards vocational training focus on reintegrating combatants. Given that 2/3 of the adult population is involved in subsistence agriculture, the main thrusts are agricultural skills, and related proficiencies such as mechanics, carpentry and bricklaying.
There are only two universities in Sierra Leone, namely Njala University (established as an Agricultural Experimentation Station in 1910), and the University of Sierra Leone, founded as Fourah Bay College in 1827, and illustrated here.
The former has colleges of education, community health services, social sciences, agriculture, environmental sciences, and technology, while the latter has dedicated itself to excellence in teaching, learning and community service, through a wider range of programs.