Sierra Leone is bounded on the north-west, north, and north-east by the Republic Guinea, on the south-east by the Republic of Liberia, and on the south-west by the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area of 27,925 square miles. The colony of Sierra Leone originated in the sale and cession in 1787 by native chiefs to English settlers of land intended as a home for African settlers who were waifs in London. Later, it was used as a settlement for freed African slaves. The hinterland was declared a British Protectorate on 21st August 1896.
Sierra Leone attained independence on 27th April 1961 and became a Republic in 1971. Both private and state-sponsored schools provide education. The current education system is 6-3-4-4 (that is, six years Primary school, three years Junior Secondary School, four years Senior Secondary School, and four years tertiary/higher education. This system is complemented by non-formal education.
Education is frequently used in the sense of instruction in the classroom, laboratory, workshop, or domestic science room and consists principally in the imparting by the teacher, the acquisition by pupils, information and mental, and manual skills. A wider meaning than instruction is that of schooling. That is to say, all that goes on within the school is part of the pupil’s life.
It includes, among other things, the relationship between pupils and teachers, pupils and pupils both in and outside the school. J. S. Mill (1931) opined that whatever helps to shape the human being; to make the individual what he is or hinder him from being what he is not is part of his education. Implicitly education is lifelong and ubiquitous; it is the total of all influences which go to make a person what he is, from birth to death. It includes the home, our neighbors, and the street, among others.
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Education is, to some extent, a deliberate, planned process devised and conducted by the educator to imbue the learner with certain information, skills, mind, and body, and modes of behavior considered desirable. In part, it is the learner’s own response to the environment in which he lives. Education has three focal points: the individual/person upon whom the educator’s influences are brought to bear; the society or community to which he belongs.
The whole context of reality within which the individual and society play their part. Man is a social creature; he grows as a person through the impact of personality on personality. Even for his basic physical needs, he depends on the help and cooperation of his fellow men and women. Without society and the mutual support and enrichment of experiences that it provides, civilization is impossible. In Hobbes’ words, the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
One of the fundamental facts of human existence is the tension between the pull of the past and the forward urge into the future, between stability and change, tradition and innovation. For effective living, man needs a circle of security, an area of established habits and relationship which forms dependable relationships. This is also true of society. There must be an underlying continuity of traditions and outlook for its effective functioning, which preserves its identity as a society and safeguards it against the disruptive effects of change. Change must be for life and not static, but society’s basic traditions must control this change in turn. It is a tradition that gives a nation its character and distinctiveness as a society. The conservation of tradition, therefore, is obviously crucial.