Mrs. Adama Soko Bangura from KDEC Primary School in Kambia 1 and Mr. Mohamed Bassie Kamara from Birch Memorial Senior Secondary School in Makeni have been named the winners of the prestigious Presidential National Best Teachers’ Award (PNBTA). As a token of appreciation for their outstanding contributions to education, each winner was presented with NLE 45,000 and a plot of land.
Expressing her joy, Mrs. Bangura, who has served as a primary school teacher for 18 years, said, “I feel incredibly proud and excited to be recognized as the Best Primary School Teacher in the Kambia district for 2023. This award serves as a motivation for me to continue working hard in my role as a teacher.”
Similarly, Mr. Kamara, who has dedicated 11 years to teaching, expressed his gratitude for being honored with the award. He stated, “I am deeply honored to receive this year’s Presidential National Best Teacher Award. This recognition highlights the importance of the classroom and emphasizes that teaching is a noble profession. I hope this will inspire other teachers to strive for excellence.”
The PNBTA ceremony took place on October 5th, 2023, coinciding with World Teachers’ Day. The theme for this year’s event was “The teachers we need for the education we want.” The competition received an overwhelming response, with a record-breaking 1,037 nominations nationwide. Out of these, 320 candidates were shortlisted, with 20 finalists from each district (10 from pre-primary and primary levels and 10 from junior secondary and senior secondary levels). Eventually, 32 district winners emerged, who then competed at the regional level to determine the ten regional winners. From these regional winners, the two national winners were selected.
In his address at the ceremony, Mr. Conrad Sackey, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, emphasized the significant impact teachers have on society and the importance of education in driving progress and transformation. He stated, “Education is the cornerstone of our nation’s development. It empowers individuals, shapes society, and guides us towards a brighter future.”
The initiative to recognize and appreciate exceptional teachers was launched by President Brigadier (Rtd.) Dr. Julius Maada Bio during the State Opening of Parliament in May 2018. Recognizing the vital role teachers play in the success of the flagship program, Free Quality Education, President Bio expressed his commitment to raising teachers’ morale and productivity. As part of this initiative, the Presidential National Best Teacher Awards Scheme was established to honor innovative, dedicated teachers at both national and district levels.
Dr. Moinina David Sengeh, Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister, unveiled the grand winners on behalf of President Bio. He announced that each national winner would receive NLE 45,000 and a plot of land. Additionally, he assured all teachers that the government would fulfill its commitment to increase their salaries by 15% in 2024.
Dr. Abdu Muwonge, the World Bank’s Country Manager for Sierra Leone, commended the government for organizing such an esteemed award ceremony and praised their unwavering commitment to education. He stated that prioritizing education is a testament to the government’s dedication to building a brighter future.
Mr. Sorie Turay, the Secretary of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), outlined the objectives of the PNBTA, which include recognizing the value of teachers in Sierra Leone’s overall human and economic development and promoting excellence among teachers by rewarding their innovation, creativity, and dedication at district, regional, and national levels.