Basic and Senior Secondary Education Act, 2023
Act 23 of 2023
- Published in Sierra Leone Gazette 38 on 19 June 2023
- Assented to on 2 May 2023
- Commenced on 19 June 2023
- [This is the version of this document from 19 June 2023.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"affirmative action" means the practice or policy of favouring individuals belonging to groups regarded as disadvantaged or subject to discrimination;"autism spectrum disorder" means a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain and a child with autism spectrum disorder may behave, communicate, interact and learn in ways that are different from most other children;"basic education" means formal schooling provided from pre-primary 1 to junior secondary 3;"Basic Education Certificate Examination" means Basic Education Certificate Examination referred to in section 28;"Chief Education Officer" means the professional and technical head of the Ministry referred to in section 5;"citizenship education" means a form of education that teaches pupils the rights they enjoy, their responsibilities to the society, and their duties to the country;"community education centre" means a centre for the promotion of non-formal literacy and basic education as well as skills acquisition;"community language" means the predominant language in a locality;"community service" means unpaid work, intended to be of social use, that an offender is required to do instead of going to prison or paying a fine;"compulsory subject" means a subject that all pupils are required to study;"continuous assessment" means a form of measuring learning progress regularly throughout a prescribed course or programme;"co-ordinator or manager" means the head of an adult literacy, community education centre, or non-formal education centre;"corporal punishment" means any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort;"corruption" means a form of dishonesty or a criminal offence which is undertaken by a person or an organisation which is entrusted in a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse of power for one's personal gain;"creative thinking" means devising new or alternative ways to carry out tasks, solve problems, and address challenges;"critical thinking" means analysing available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments to form judgement;"curriculum" means the subjects comprising a course of study in an educational setting;"cyber bullying" means a form of intimidation or harassment using electronic means, for example, pestering phone calls;"data-driven" means something that is determined by or dependent on the collection or analysis of information;"delinquent" means typically a young person who commits minor offence;"Deputy Director" means a second in command to the head of a technical directorate or head of the education office in the district referred to in section 7;"Directorate" means a technical division in the Ministry responsible for implementing the Ministry’s programmes and strategies;"distance education learning" means a method of delivering education to pupils with limited direct contact with teachers;"early childhood education" means catering to the educational needs of the child from 3-5 years;"Education Committee" means a group of persons appointed by a local council to manage its education responsibilities;"Education Secretary" means a senior person who is responsible for the overall management of a school;"Education Youth Advisory Group" means the Education Youth Advisory Group established under section 96;"emergency" means serious political unrests or major health issues or disastrous happenings that have the potential to disrupt the school system;"epidemic" means a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a geographical area;"equity" means being fully or truly balanced in resources, opportunity and outcomes;"expulsion" means removing a pupil or teacher from the school permanently following a serious act of indiscipline by the pupil or grave unprofessional behaviour by the teacher;"faith-based" means being or associated with a religion or religious group;"foreign pupil" means a non-Sierra Leonean school-going child;"Free Quality School Education" means a programme dedicated to the promotion of quality education for which the cost of tuition and much of the teaching and learning materials and examination fees are borne by the Government of Sierra Leone;"gender equity" means the full and equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms and equal access to resources, opportunities and outcomes, by females and males;"gender mainstreaming" means the process of identifying gender gaps and making women’s and men’s concerns and experiences integral to the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programmes in all sectors in the Ministry to ensure that they benefit equally;"general secondary school" means a senior secondary school that allows pupils to choose specialist, applied and every day subjects according to their needs, interests and aspirations;"global languages" means international languages;"Government school" means a school managed by or on behalf of the Ministry;"Government-assisted school" means a basic or senior secondary school that receives financial assistance including subsidies and other regular forms of support from the Ministry and government;"guardian" means any recognised custodian of a child;"guidance counsellor" means a professional who works in the basic or senior secondary education system to provide academic, career, social and emotional guidance to pupils;"inclusive education" means giving every child the right to quality education and learning regardless of their circumstances, gender, place of residence, ethnicity, etc.;"infectious disease" means a sickness/illness that is transmitted from person to person;"in-service training" means training provided to practising or serving teachers to improve their competencies;"information technology" means the use of computers, storage, networking and other physical devices, infrastructure and processes to create, process, store, secure and exchange all forms of electronic data;"Junior secondary school" means the school category for 3 years after primary school;"learner" means a person of any age for whom education is provided in accordance with this Act;"lifelong education" means on-going pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reason;"local council" means an elected body that administers a city or district council;"Medical Officer" means a health practitioner in the employment of the government or authorised by the government to attend to the health needs of individuals that include school pupils;"mental health" means a condition with regard to the psychological and emotional well-being of a pupil;"Minister" means the political head of the Ministry responsible for Basic and Senior Secondary Education;"Ministry" means the Ministry responsible for Basic and Senior Secondary Education;"National Board" means the National Board of Education established under section 9;"National Primary School Examination" means National Primary School Examination referred to in section 26;"non-discrimination" means the fair or even-handed treatment of different categories of people;"non-formal education" means any planned programme of education or instruction designed to improve a range of skills and competences, outside the formal educational setting;"pandemic" means a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease over a whole country or the world at a particular time;"para-curricular" means an activity at a school pursued in addition to the normal course of study;"parent" means the biological or adopted mother or father of a child;"parent learner" means an adolescent school-going girl or boy with a child;"pre-school" means an educational facility for children 3-5 years;"primary school" means the school category for six years after pre-school;"private school" means an educational establishment that is not administered by government or a local council, and does not receive regular financial support from government;"proprietor" means the owner of a school;"public school" means government or government-assisted school;"pupil-on-pupil violence" means the verbal abuse, threats and physical pain a pupil inflicts on another pupil;"remedial learning" means additional assistance given to pupils to improve their academic performance;"School Manager" in the case of a school managed by a proprietor, means the proprietor and in the case of any other school the person appointed by the proprietor to be the responsible local representative of the proprietor;"School Management Committee" means a group of persons appointed or elected to oversee the operations of a primary school;"semi-autonomous" means a body with powers to act independently to some degree;"senior secondary school" means the school category for 3 years after junior secondary school;"special needs education" means the kind of education that accommodates the individual differences, disabilities, and special circumstances of certain pupils;"specialist secondary school" means a type of senior secondary school that offers a specialised curriculum determined by the Minister;"suspension" means asking the pupil or teacher to temporarily leave the school after a misconduct;"technical and vocational education and training" means the technical and vocational education and training set by the Ministry as a condition for enrolment into specialist schools under section 30;"underserved community" means a community with very limited social amenities and other facilities;"ward" means the smallest political unit of a local council, represented by a councillor;"West African Senior School Certificate Examination" means West African Senior School Certificate Examination referred to in section 31.
Part II – Control of education
2. Control and supervision of educationThe Minister shall have control and supervision of pre-primary, primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schooling as well as the non-formal and school-level adult learning sectors throughout Sierra Leone.
3. Powers of MinisterThe Minister may, from time to time, from funds appropriated by Parliament for that purpose—
4. Responsibility of MinistryThe Ministry is responsible for the performance of such acts necessary or incidental to the control and supervision of education by the Minister under section 2, including—
5. Chief Education Officer
6. Deputy Chief Education Officer
7. Technical directorates education offices
8. Ministry to collaborate with semi-autonomous bodiesThe Ministry shall collaborate with semi-autonomous bodies including—
Part III – Establishment of National Board of Education
9. National Board of Education
10. Functions of National Board of Education
11. Tenure of members
12. Meetings of National Board
13. Disclosure of interest
14. Immunity of members
15. Committees of National BoardThe National Board may, for the discharge of its functions, appoint one or more committees consisting of members of the National Board or non-members or both, to perform such functions and to report to the National Board as the National Board may determine.
16. Remuneration of membersThe Chairman and other members of the National Board and any person co-opted by the National Board under subsection (8) of section 12 shall be paid such allowances as approved by the Minister and shall be reimbursed by the Ministry for expenses incurred in connection with the discharge of their functions as the National Board may, with the approval of the Minister, determine.
17. Filling of vacancies
Part IV – Inclusive and early childhood education
18. Stages in education system
19. Radical inclusion
20. Affirmative actionNothing in this section shall prevent discrimination where a group of pupils share a characteristic and by virtue of which—
21. Special needs institutions
22. Early childhood education
23. Obligations of early childhood education providers
Part V – Structure of basic and senior secondary education
24. Basic education
25. Pre-primary and primary education
26. National Primary School Examination
27. Junior secondary school
28. Basic Education Certificate Education
29. Senior secondary school
30. Types of senior secondary school
31. West African Senior School Certificate Examination
32. Non-formal and lifelong learning
33. Continuing Education Centres
34. Functions of Continuing Education Centre management committeeA Continuing Education Centre management committee shall—
35. Tenure and filling of vacancies
36. Non-Formal Education Council
37. Functions of Non-Formal Education Council
38. Tenure of membersA member of the Non-Formal Education Council shall serve for a term of 3 years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for a further term of 3 years only.
39. Filling of vacancies
40. Meetings of Non-Formal Education Council
41. Remuneration of membersMembers of the Non-Formal Education Council may be given sitting allowances as the Minister may determine.
Part VI – School governance
42. Two-tier system of governance
43. Community Teachers Association
44. School Management Committee
45. Tenure and filling of vacancies
46. Education Centre Management Committee
47. Tenure and filling of vacancies
48. Board of Governors
49. Membership of Board of Governors
50. Functions of the Board
51. Qualifications of Board membersAt least 50 percent of the members of the Board of Governors shall have completed senior secondary school or its equivalent and have some management experience.
52. Tenure of Board of GovernorsA member of the Board of Governors shall serve for a term of 3 years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for a further term of 3 years only, but may serve on the Board of Governors of other schools at the expiration of his tenure.
53. Filling of vacancies
54. Meetings of Board
55. Committees of BoardThe Board of Governors may appoint such sub-committees as it may consider necessary for the purpose of carrying out its responsibilities under this Act including—
56. School administration
57. Appointments, transfers and promotions
58. Certificate and licence for teachers
59. Bank accounts
Part VII – Establishing and operating private schools
60. Establishment, operation and service delivery guidelines
61. Criteria for approval to establish a schoolA proprietor and manager of a school for which approval to establish is sought shall be a fit and proper person to be in charge of a school and shall—
62. Rescinding or suspending approval
63. Unauthorised establishment of a school
64. Change of ownership
65. Closure of private school
66. Petitions and appeals
67. Criteria for receiving government financial assistance
Part VIII – Decentralisation of basic education
68. Basic education in local councilsThe Minister shall institute measures for the effective decentralisation of the management of basic education to the local councils, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act, 2022.
69. Local council education committee
70. Duties of local councils
Part IX – The school environment
71. Child-friendly schools
72. Corporal punishment
73. Pupil-on-pupil violence etc. prohibited
74. Indiscipline by pupil or staff
75. Suspensions and expulsions
76. Right of appeal
77. Aberrant childrenChildren with behavioural problems as determined by the school authorities may be handed over to the appropriate agency for care and guidance.
78. Sick children
79. School infrastructureThe Ministry shall, in collaboration with the Ministry responsible for housing and infrastructure, the local council, proprietors and partners, ensure that government and government-assisted schools have the required infrastructure for effective teaching, learning and recreation.
Part X – Quality control
80. Quality assurance
81. Monitoring and supervision
83. Curriculum development and review
Part XI – Mode of instruction in schools
84. English is medium of instruction
Part XII – School libraries
85. School libraries
Part XIII – Fraud and corruption
86. Fraud and corruption
87. Maintaining accurate school
Part XIV – Equality of opportunity in the work place
88. Gender equity
89. Staff with special needsStaff in the Ministry with special needs or physical disability constraints shall be supported and assured of their safety.
90. Zero tolerance to harassment, etc.Bullying, harassment, verbal, emotional or physical abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation in the Ministry is prohibited.
Part XV – Emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks
91. Measures to be taken
92. Responsibility of parent or guardianA parent or guardian shall ensure that his child or ward makes reasonable use of the teaching and learning facilities provided by the Ministry during infectious disease outbreaks and other emergencies.
93. Emergency Education Task Force
Part XVI – Education Management Information System
94. Data collection and analysis
95. National Identification Numbers
Part XVII – Education Youth Advisory Group
96. Formation of Education Youth Advisory Group
Part XVIII – Partnerships
Part XIX – Miscellaneous
98. General penaltyA person who commits an offence under this Act for which a penalty has not been prescribed is liable on summary conviction to a fine not less than Le 10,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term not less than 1 year or to both such fine and imprisonment.
99. RegulationsThe Minister may by statutory instrument make regulations as he may consider necessary or expedient for giving effect to this Act.
100. Repeal and savings
History of this document
19 June 2023 this version
02 May 2023