According to the United Nations (UN) “Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty.” It should be no surprise then that one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is dedicated to education. SDG 4 is “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all…”
But in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, most countries announced the temporary closure of schools, impacting more than 91 per cent of students worldwide. By April 2020, close to 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school. This situation goes against that which SDG 4 promotes or envisions.
To address the inclusive and equitable quality education in Sierra Leone, which will scale up into other countries, a Sierra Leonean owned and operated company, TpISENT (SL) Limited, launched the “West Africa Open Education Platform (WAOEduP)” on July 1, 2020. It is a web-based platform available at mooc.edu.sl and a mobile application (TpLEARN) currently available in the Google Play Store for Android devices. The company believes that the digital platforms will help pupils in Sierra Leone obtain better passing scores in national and regional exams. But more importantly, it levels the playing field for students who now can access study material not easily available to them in the past.
1,600-plus pupils are actively using the web and mobile application across all districts in Sierra Leone to practice and study for NPSE, BECE and WASSCE
Pupils in Sierra Leone are amongst the 1.6 billion children that have been out of school since March 31, 2020. Last year, more than 350,000 of students sat for the National Primary School Examination (NPSE), the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
In recent years, the country has made gains in student enrollment, but the educational level and skills acquisition are among the lowest in West Africa. In our studies, we note that adequate and quality educational resources are not easily accessible, or if so, via private lessons, which many of the students cannot afford.
However, many of them have access to smartphones they use for communications and entertainment. TpISENT decided to offer a pilot of WAOEduP to assess and evaluate the pros and cons of an open digital educational resource for curriculum-based learning, everyday learning, and to study and practice for national and regional exams. So, we went through the whole process of purchasing hard copies, digitized the hard copies, and uploaded them into our system.
On Saturday, August 1, 2020, and Sunday, August 2, 2020, we launched the first national NPSE Mock Exam, done exclusively online. More than 100 pupils attended the web conference. The pupils, and their parents, learnt about the WAOEduP and its importance, how to use the web app (mooc.edu.sl) and mobile application (TpLEARN). They also watched a live demonstration of how to take a mock exam using the web app and mobile app. We will repeat the digital mock exam simulation on August 8th and 9th for WASSCE Pupils and September 5th, 6th, 12th, and 13th for BECE pupils.
Current Status in Numbers
NPSE Practice Exams
- Mathematics (2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008)
- English Language (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011)
- Quantitative Aptitude (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)
- Verbal Aptitude (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2010)
- General Paper (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013)
WASSCE Practice Exams
- Mathematics (2019, 2017 SC/Private, 2016, 2014, 2008, 2007)
- English Language (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2001)
BECE Practice Exams
- Mathematics (2019, 2017)
- Language Arts (2019, 2018)
- Agricultural Science (2018)
- Integrated Science (2019, 2017, 2009)
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