Some pupils writing the NPSE exam at Mandela Primary School in Freetown

By Mohamed Amara Gando

It is said that the roots of education are bitter, but the fruits are sweets. On Friday, 28 May, thousands of pupils sat for the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) at 472 centres across Sierra Leone.

Speaking to Beyond Borders during his spot visit to one of the examination centres, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David Monina Sengeh, said for the 2021 NPSE, his Ministry admitted over 166, 495 candidates, which he noted  “was the highest entry ever for NPSE in the country.”

He explained that the two week extension for the exam was to give the opportunity for further revision by candidates and teachers. “The postponement of the examination was necessitated by the ongoing observance of fasting by our Muslim compatriots during the Holy Month of Ramadan which ended recently,” he explained.

He noted that unlike previous years, parents or guardians were strictly advised to leave the vicinity of the centre at least one hour before the commencement of the exams. He said nobody was allowed to linger around examination centres. He described the 2021 NPSE preparedness as the most successful, revealing that all the 146 chiefdoms across the country had examination centers in the country.

Speaking to Beyond Borders, some of the parents in the Western Area of Freetown, expressed satisfaction at the way the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education coordinated the exams. Some parents described the 2021 NPSE as one of the best in the history of NPSE in the country. According to some of them, the support from the Ministry of Basic Education in terms of providing examination materials such as 2B pencils, sharpeners and erasers to their kids were timely and well-appreciated.

Expressing her satisfaction over the 2021 NPSE, Mariama Kamara, a parent, stated that she was impressed with the way the ministry handled their children, especially with the provision of transportation. “I am really impressed. I woke up this morning at around 6 am to accompany my two kids to their examination centres and we were picked up by one of the busses that were transporting school pupils to their centers with no hindrances,” she told Beyond Borders.

After the conclusion of her exam, Haja Feima Koroma, a class six pupil, told this medium that she was happy to be part of this year’s NPSE. “I am really happy to be part of this year’s examination. I have been studying very hard for this exam. I know I am going to make it,” she said, optimistically.


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