Fifty-four Child Reintegration Centre students were awarded special honors for doing extremely well in their academic work for the 2019-2020 academic year. The CRC gives awards for academic excellence to encourage the students to maintain high standards, and to remind the parents to keep monitoring their children's progress. The ceremony was incorporated into the annual Christmas party and attended by the children's parents.
Two Senior Secondary students were recognized for high achievement on the WASSCE college entrance exam, 29 primary grade children received awards for high NPSE scores, and 23 children were recognized for class promotions.
Education Manager Mabel Mustapha awarded the prizes and certificates to the high achievers. "My children, I am giving you these gifts and awards to motivate you to do more and make us proud. I assure you that we will continue to support you," she said. The beneficiaries each received a length of beautiful African "lappa" cloth.
“It has been my determination to grab an award at the CRC very year during their award events," CRC student Ansumana Farma-Bempa said. "I will continue to do my best in the university so has to make the organization proud of me. Thank you all for your support, especially the staff and management of CRC and my family. May God bless us all.”
Ansumana and Hassan Koroma were the only two students to score 6 credits on the difficult West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), earning both students a Promise Scholarship to attend university. Ansumana will attend Fourah Bay College to pursue an Engineering degree (also the alma mater of CRC alumnus Abdulai Sumaila), and Hassan will attend Canadian College of Modern Technology to pursue a degree in Computer Technology.
“I am really happy for my child for making it to the university and receiving an award. I will personally relay this good news to the rest of the family in the village, immediate members and the school. Without the support of CRC this will not have happened to my son," CRC parent Mary exclaimed.
The following students were recognized for academic excellence.
While Sierra Leone schools remain partially closed due to the COVID pandemic, the Child Reintegration Centre education department has been holding test preparation classes for students facing promotional exams. In most of West Africa, students who hope to promote from the Primary, Junior Secondary, and Senior Secondary levels are required to pass difficult examinations on a broad range of subjects. CRC students have been invited to attend classes in small groups, where they are tutored with a focus on mathematics and English. Education Manager Mabel Mustapha organized a system to help the students continue to study and prepare at home.
In early July, the government reopened school for students sitting public exams so they can attend remedial classes. The children will have at least two weeks of test preparation classes before the examinations are held. Children who are not taking public examinations will be assessed by their teachers on the two terms that were conducted before schools closed.
The NPSE exam for promotion from primary school is scheduled for July 31, BECE exam for promotion from Junior Secondary is scheduled for July 15, and the WASSCE exam for graduates of Senior Secondary is scheduled for August 4th.
The Child Reintegration Centre's education department, led by Education Manager Mabel Mustapha, organized a forum for secondary students to hear from successful graduates of vocational and technical programs. The forum aimed to remove the stigma students and their families may have towards vocational or technical training, and encourage them to seek successful careers in fields that don't require a university degree.
Daniel Lahai, a carpentry teacher at Sierra Leone Opportunities Industrialization Centers (SL-OIC), one of the CRC's approved post-secondary institutions, spoke to the students about training opportunities in the construction field. Mercy Hospital electrician Mohamed Bangura and CRC accountant Lucy Jusu shared their stories of personal success as graduates of votech programs who now have interesting, good-paying jobs with room for advancement. All three speakers attended SL-OIC before embarking on their current careers. Lucy worked for many years at the CRC before going back to school to earn an accounting degree.
On a national level, the 2019 WASSCE exam results were very disappointing, and few students earned the scores required for university acceptance. Job training is an excellent alternative for senior secondary (high school equivalent) graduates. The most recent labor statistics from the World Bank show that just 10% of the population are wage or salaried workers, so good jobs are not easy to come by in Sierra Leone, but welders, electricians, accountants, and other skilled workers are in high demand.
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