Frequently Asked Questions
How will the teacher attendance monitoring system work?
The Sierra Leone Education Attendance Monitoring System (SLEAMS) will collect data on teacher attendance and report it to this website.
- Teacher attendance is collected at two levels:
- School-based self-reporting: School Leaders will be required to record teacher attendance and gather biometric data every day using a tablet containing a simple digital application;
- District-level inspections: District-level Deputy Directors (DDs) and District Officers (DOs) will carry out unannounced visits to observe teachers, offer support and collect their own attendance data.
What is the purpose of the initial pilot?
The purpose of the pilot is to test the SLEAMS tools in different schools and settings, gather feedback from all involved and determine the best way of operating the system in a national roll out.
Whose attendance is being monitored?
- During the pilot, we are collecting the attendance data of:
- All teachers on the Government payroll.
- All volunteer teachers.
How many schools are involved in the pilot?
- The pilot is monitoring the attendance of teachers in:
- 5 districts (one in each Region): Karene, Falaba, Bonthe, Kailahun, Western Urban
- 43 schools: with at least one of each school level in each district. NB: pre-primary and some technical vocational schools remained closed during the exam period and so were not included in the pilot as originally planned.
How were schools selected for the pilot?
Schools and districts taking part in the pilot were selected to be a representative sample of Government and Government-assisted schools based on a number of different criteria, including accessibility, power and phone signal. This was to ensure the pilot is fully tested in a variety of settings and against a variety of potential challenges.
Why does the TSC need to monitor teacher attendance?
The introduction of Free Quality School Education (FQSE) has seen increased demand for schooling. The GoSL and TSC are committed to supporting this through the recent recruitment of 5000 teachers, the introduction of new terms and conditions and a recent 30 percent pay rise for teachers. However, it is essential to ensure that existing resources are used wisely.
Poor attendance in the teaching service and challenges to the integrity of the payroll are well documented, and the Sierra Leone Education Sector Plan 2018-2020 identifies the need to strengthen the education system by cleaning the payroll and improving teacher allocation through better records and stronger data management. It is imperative that those teachers who work hard are recognised for their efforts and that the TSC is aware where there are teachers who do not.
We can only enjoy the benefit of additional teachers and better terms and conditions if we address these older problems too. As such, we need and expect all teachers on the Government payroll to be committed to their work, to arrive on time, be present in the classroom and to teach effectively to ensure our children get the education they deserve. With our joint efforts, we will deliver education to accelerate the future growth and development of Sierra Leone.
How is the data collected stored and used?
- All data is stored securely on a cloud-based database, accessed via a secure website:
- Sensitive individual teacher data is password-protected and only accessible to TSC staff with permission. It will be used to support various TSC management, planning and budgeting processes.
- A summary of attendance data (with no individual teacher names or details) is published online to enable all citizens, including parents and school communities, to monitor SLEAMS progress and teacher attendance rates at schools.
Attendance data will be used to inform day-to-day teacher management, planning and budgeting, and for payroll accountability.
What will happen to teachers with poor attendance?
The GoSL will introduce a sanctions policy for serious attendance infractions, as is already in use in the health sector. This will be fully communicated once developed and approved. The sanctions policy will only affect unauthorised absence.
When did the pilot begin and how long will it last?
Attendance reporting at the 43 pilot schools began in early July when schools opened for exam preparation and will finish in early August.
Who is conducting the pilot?
The pilot is led by the TSC and supported by independent partner Charlie Goldsmith Associates Ltd (CGA), appointed following a GoSL procurement process.
What is the role of School Management Committees (SMC), Board of Governors (BoG) and District Education Committees (DEC) in SLEAMS?
SMCs, BoGs and DECs play an important role in the education system and we strongly encourage their involvement in the pilot. Representatives of each were invited to take part in School Leader training to cultivate understanding of the system. Committees will also be able to view non-sensitive data from their schools online at sleams.org so they can monitor and assess attendance performance.
We anticipate the participation of SMCs, BoGs and DECs in SLEAMS will expand during the national roll out.
Why did the TSC conduct the pilot during COVID-19?
SLEAMS is part of a long-term GoSL commitment to improve education delivery. The pilot was initially planned to rollout to 50 schools in May 2020 but was postponed when schools closed on 31 March due to COVID-19.
We take public health and the safety of our teachers, pupils and school communities very seriously. When the Government announced the partial reopening of schools for exam preparations in July, careful consideration was given to ensure the pilot could be conducted safely within the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) COVID-19 published guidelines.
Once we were confident this was the case, the decision was taken to continue to push forward on education reform and ensure teachers were doing their part to help pupils prepare so they do not disproportionately suffer in the long-term from poor exam results.