Monday, December 08, 2008

John Abdul Kargbo seems to be the "library guy" in Sierra Leone

From his article, "Promoting Reading In Schools In Sierra Leone":
Not withstanding school libraries in Sierra Leone are not given much recognition as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST)has no clear-cut policies on these institutions. Their development depends on the enthusiasm of head teachers and the quality of service rendered by the few existing school libraries depends on the type of school the library is serving. In primary schools the provisions of libraries are inadequate as compared to those in secondary schools where the level of organization is dependent on who is sponsoring the school. For example old well established mission schools like the Sierra Leone Grammar School, the Anne Walsh Memorial Secondary School for Girls and Saint Edwards Secondary School in Freetown, and a few government maintained schools like the Government Secondary School in Bo, have better collections than the majority of schools in the country, especially those that started as self-help schools. These schools have poor library collections because of the uncertainty of funding. Old Students Associations fund some schools and in turn have good collections. A few private schools, especially those run by internationals such as Lebanese International School has good collections. The majority of government supported schools offer the poorest quality of education especially those run on commercial enterprises. These hardly have libraries and pupils of these schools have to rely on the services of the Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) and other libraries like the British Council and the United States Information Services (USIS),where available. Some of the few existing school libraries are fast disappearing making way for classrooms because of increased intake.

Most schools lack qualified staff to run their libraries because of the non-availability of funds to pay professional librarians. The trend has been to employ library assistants who in most cases are school leavers with or without West African Secondary School Certificate of Education (WASSCE). Some schools put the library under the charge of a teacher.


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