Just as children in America have headed back to school, early September means our children at The Raining Season are heading back to the classroom for a new school year as well. With backpacks and notebooks in hand, they will go to their classrooms excited for a new year. Our younger students will attend class at the center while our older students leave the center each day and attend classes in Freetown.
What does school look like in Sierra Leone? The school system is made up of three levels: primary, junior secondary, and senior secondary. Public school for primary grades one through six is free in Sierra Leone. However, students are expected to purchase their own school uniform and books. For many, this cost is often too much. Therefore, a significant percentage of primary aged students do not attend school. The school term runs from September through July with final exams in early July. For students to proceed on to the next class, they must pass their final exam.
In the years since the civil war, education has been a challenge in Sierra Leone. Immediately following the war in 2001, 67% of school-aged children were not in school. That percentage has greatly decreased in recent years, but challenges still exist. Hurdles including a shortage of schools, untrained teachers and lack of supplies make it difficult to meet the needs of all students in Sierra Leone.
The Raining Season is fortunate enough to have its own school on the property. Six teachers are employed for students in grades one through six. Once students have passed their grade 6 exams, they attend school outside of the center. The number of children attending school outside of the center is growing each year. This is both something to celebrate and a new challenge as it is an increased cost and students must be transported to school. A long-term goal of the organization is to be able to provide education onsite for all grade levels.
There are many differences between schools in America and Sierra Leone, but the end goal is the same. Education creates opportunity. We want the children who enter the gates of The Raining Season to use their education to become productive citizens of Sierra Leone.
Join us in prayer as a new school year begins. We pray for the students and their success in the classroom. Pray that they may understand the material and grow in their knowledge. We also pray for the teachers who guide and educate the children. Continue to pray for some of our older children who work toward taking university entrance exams or choosing a trade as they complete school.
Wishing our students at The Raining Season and our supporters a wonderful and productive school year!
The Raining Season