The Pharmaceutic

The Pharmaceutic

Traditional Schools in the Teaching of Children in Sierra Leone

Traditional schools in Sierra Leone have played a significant role in the education of children. These schools are rooted in the country’s culture and have been passed down from generation to generation. In this article, we will take a closer look at traditional schools in Sierra Leone, including their history, teaching methods, and cultural significance.

History of Traditional Schools in Sierra Leone

Traditional schools in Sierra Leone have been around for centuries. They are often referred to as “bush schools” or “secret societies” and were originally used to teach children about their culture, customs, and beliefs. In these schools, children would learn about their tribe’s history, spiritual beliefs, and cultural practices.

In the early 1900s, colonialism brought about changes to Sierra Leone’s education system. The British introduced a Western-style education system, which led to the decline of traditional schools. However, traditional schools continued to thrive in rural areas, where access to Western-style education was limited.

Teaching Methods in Traditional Schools

The teaching methods used in traditional schools are different from those used in Western-style schools. In traditional schools, the focus is on practical knowledge, and learning is done through observation and participation. Children are taught through storytelling, songs, and role-playing.

In traditional schools, there is a strong emphasis on respect for authority and elders. Children are expected to listen to their teachers and follow their instructions without question. Discipline is also an essential aspect of traditional schools, and children are taught to be obedient and respectful.

Cultural Significance of Traditional Schools

Traditional schools have significant cultural significance in Sierra Leone. They are an essential part of the country’s cultural heritage and are seen as a way of preserving traditional values and beliefs. In many rural communities, traditional schools are still the only form of education available, and they are highly respected.

Traditional schools also play a vital role in initiation ceremonies. In many tribes, boys and girls must go through an initiation ceremony to become adults. These ceremonies involve a period of seclusion, during which the children are taught about their culture, spirituality, and adult responsibilities. Traditional schools are often used to prepare children for these initiation ceremonies.

Challenges facing Traditional Schools

Traditional schools in Sierra Leone face many challenges. The lack of government support and funding means that many schools struggle to provide adequate resources for their students. Many traditional schools are also run by volunteers, who may not have the necessary training or qualifications to teach effectively.

There is also a growing trend towards Western-style education, which has led to a decline in traditional schools. Many parents now believe that a Western-style education provides their children with better opportunities in life.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite their many benefits, traditional schools faced several challenges and criticisms. One of the main criticisms was that they did not provide a formal education that could prepare children for modern society. Traditional schools focused on practical skills and cultural values but did not provide training in subjects such as mathematics, science, and literacy.

Another criticism was that traditional schools were often gender-segregated, with boys and girls taught separately. This meant that girls had limited opportunities for education and were often excluded from important cultural events and ceremonies.


In conclusion, traditional schools in Sierra Leone have a long and rich history. They have played a significant role in educating children about their culture, customs, and beliefs. Despite the challenges they face, traditional schools continue to be an essential part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Leave a Comment