In April 2015 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology issued a statement banning pregnant girls from mainstream education. The exclusion of pregnant girls from mainstream education and from sitting exams is a violation of their right to education and a discriminatory measure which reinforces negative stereotypes about girls. Enforcement of the ban was immediate and was done through searches and physical examination of girls. Threatening their physical integrity and privacy Despite the establishment by the government with the support of some international donors of an alternative “bridging “ education system that would allow pregnant girls to continue going to school, there are still concerns about the human rights of the girls. Mainly for their lack of choice in attending one system or the other, their inability to take exams and the persistent stigmatisation of the ban.
This country factsheet on Sierra Leone is intended to assist practitioners identify the key national laws and policies relevant to the right to education; analyse their strengths and weaknesses; and detect the gaps between laws and policies, and practice; in order to use the empirical data collected to help define a human rights-based advocacy strategy.
It provides an overview of the obligations of the government to realise the right to education: the instruments (laws, policies, and budget) and mechanisms (commissions, courts, etc) that exist in the country to implement the right to education, and recommendations made by various national and international stakeholders (UN Agencies, NGOs…).