During his budget presentation in the well of parliament on
Friday, 14th November, 2014, the Honourable Minister of Finance
revealed to the honourable members of parliament that the ruling APC
government had detected that a skills gap exists today in Sierra Leone.
The country is producing far more okada riders and ataya base operators
than doctors and engineers, he disclosed. Some 200,000 okada riders
currently ply their trade, he revealed, along with a probably larger
number of street traders. Meanwhile for the five years from 2010 to
2014 a total of only 621 graduated from the nation's universities in
engineering, medicine and mass communications.
The APC government is proposing in its 2015 budget a special fund to
address this problem, with initial government money equivalent to
approximately 400,000 United States dollars. Among other things this
money will be used to fund specialist training for young doctors and
engineers, including presumably some of the aforementioned 621
graduates. However no mention was made in the Honourable Minister's
presentation of the overall Ministry of Education budget and the
approximately 100,000 young people who leave the school system every
year in Sierra Leone. Presumably the APC plans to continue to oversee
their entry into okada riding and petty trading.
(Editor's note: We did make our
humble contribution to this much-discussed and very important subject months ago,
comparing Sierra Leone's WASSCE results with those of our neighbours.