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Sierra Leone

Digital School Census in 10 Weeks? How it was done in Sierra Leone

Kabira Namit's picture
Also available in: Français
Data being collected from students in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. (Photo: Kabira Namit/World Bank)
Les données concernent entre autres les élèves de Port Loko, Sierra Leone. (Photo: Kabira Namit/Banque mondiale)

Note: This blog is specifically about Sierra Leone’s successful transition to a digital school census but has broader implications for other countries who plan to adopt digital tools at a wider scale to collect data and monitor education and healthcare facilities in their countries. 

In April of last year, the new Minister of Finance of Sierra Leone approached the World Bank with a strong commitment to prioritize education and an intriguing request.

Why gender parity is a low standard for success in education

Stephanie Psaki's picture
Gender parity in educational attainment may mask other important inequalities. (Photo: Vuong Hai Hoang / World Bank)


In many ways, girls’ education is a success story in global development. Relatively simple changes in national policies – like making primary schooling free and compulsory – have led to dramatic increases in school enrollment around the world. In Uganda, for example, enrollment increased by over 60 percent following the elimination of primary school fees.  

As more young people have enrolled in school, gaps in educational attainment between boys and girls have closed. According to UNESCO, by 2014, “gender parity (meaning an equal amount of men and women) was achieved globally, on average, in primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary education.”

Yet, more than 250 million children are not in school. Many more drop out before completing primary school. And many young people who attend school do not gain basic literacy skills. These challenges remain particularly acute for poor girls.

In a new paper, published in Population and Development Review, we explore recent progress in girls’ education in 43 low- and middle-income countries. To do so, we use Demographic and Health Survey data collected at two time points, the first between 1997 and 2007 (time 1), and the second between 2008 and 2016 (time 2).

The impact of Ebola on education in Sierra Leone

Shawn Powers's picture
Also available in: Español
With the contribution of Kali Azzi-Huck, Anusha Ramakrishnan, and Yinan Zhang
A portrait of Selina Dougas, lost her old sister, Hawa Komo to Ebola, at the Cape Community Primary School in Freetown, Sierra Leone on June 22, 2015. Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

The West Africa Ebola crisis of 2014-15 killed more than 11,000 people, caused economic and social disruption in a massive scale, and left tens of thousands of children orphaned. In Sierra Leone, schools were closed for eight months, resulting in a lost year of learning. With the closure of schools and banning of public gatherings, Sierra Leoneans, having lived through years of civil war, knew the setbacks that lost educational opportunities would inflict on a young generation.  The government, working with donor partners, initiated a number of interventions to mitigate these losses.

Reaching Children and Youth Stranded by the Ebola Crisis

Claudia Costin's picture
 
Children in the town of Gueckedou, Guinea, an area hard hit by the Ebola outbreak. Photo credits: ©afreecom/Idrissa Soumaré  EU/ECHO


​In a part of Sub-Saharan Africa where life is far from easy for most people, the Ebola epidemic is the most devastating event in a generation. With per capita incomes ranging between $400 and $700 a year, people living in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone can ill afford Ebola’s terrible toll on survival, health, and livelihoods. World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim was in West Africa last week to pledge our ongoing support to these countries to help them reach the goal of zero Ebola cases. 

More than 5 million children are out of school indefinitely due to the crisis, and the number is even larger if university-age students are taken into account.  But the crisis is not just the downtime for these millions of students of all ages affected by school and university closures. Its full magnitude is revealed in the loss of learning and the opportunities for progress that are forgone with each passing day.