By Augustine Bamie Anthony, Manager, Education radio, MBSSE
The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education with support from the World Bank has procured four new additional radio transmitters for the Education radio. They were received by MBSSE with gratitude on Monday 15th November 2021. 1000watts each with an off-air receiver and a power inverter will be installed in four additional locations as mapped out by GRID3, after some careful study of the topography of Sierra Leone – courtesy of the World Bank.
The desire to reachout to many more school children across the country is the rationale for the expansion project of the Education radio coverage. The fact that every child matters, and that All means All to us, we will stop at nothing to provide access to education for every Sierra Leonean child. This is why the free quality school Education program is NOT POLITICS.
In September 2021, we completed the installation of two new 1000watts transmitters in Falaba and Kabala districts – courtesy of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). They currently await signals from Makeni to transmit our radio waves across the far North of the country. A region that is considered “far to reach”.
In total, six (6) new 1000watts have been added to the original capacity of the Education radio since 2018. Which implies that 6000watts has been added to the original 5,500watts national coverage. This will take our national coverage to 11,500watts.
What is worthnothing is the conscious and calculated improvement made on the Wattages. In 2018, the Education radio had eight transmitters in eight different locations across the country. However, besides the 2000watts main transmitter at Leicester Peak, Freetown, seven were all 500watts. The coverage that was provided by these 500Watts transmitters, was not enough to reachout to every child in even the districts they were installed, which was why we required support from community radio stations to link with us, especially during the height of COVID-19, when schools were closed.
But because of the genuine commitment to radically provide access to education, particularly through Radio Teaching to the 2.6 million pupils, irrespective of their locations, whether riverian or mountainous, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr David MoininaSengeh, recommended the purchase of six new 1000watts transmitters (a double capacity), to be strategically installed across the country. This will not just cater for more listenership, but will as well make it relatively easy to tune in and receive our contents loud and clear he added.
In an otherdevelopment , the Engineer and team will commence the routine maintenance of the existing transmitters across the country including Bo, Kenema, Segbwema, Kono, Mambudu, Magboroka, Makeni and Leicester Peak, Freetown sites and also will make functional the Kabala and Falaba transmitters by the 25th of November 2021. The Education radio will be proud of a national coverage of over 80% and it will be the largest coverage in the country with 14 transmitters (11,500 national wattage) by the end of 2021.