Very recently it has been made known to members of the public that there are plans afoot to convert the site of the Annie Walsh Memorial School on Kissy road, Freetown into a market place. When I first heard this utterly ludicrous idea I had to suppress a gasp because I could not believe that anyone sane would think up something so totally crass and worthless. If this were true and that there are those in high office who are considering such an action I would implore them to think very carefully about the damage such an action might wreck on the education of girls in Sierra Leone. Such an action would without any doubt demonstrate their scant regard for and lack of commitment to education in general and education of girls in particular.

The Annie Walsh Memorial School is a school steeped in history, culture and tradition. It is the oldest girls secondary school in West Africa and has educated thousands of girls in Sierra Leone and beyond in the 200 years or so that it has existed. The school since its inception circa 1849 has been part of our nation’s history and integral to our cultural heritage in Freetown.


Some of the buildings within the school compound have existed since the 1850’s or so and must be protected as listed buildings because of their importance to the history of our country and region. To demolish them for the purpose of building a market seems totally unnecessary and downright destructive. In truth if we are showing respect for the rich cultural heritage that the school symbolises these buildings should be properly maintained, upgraded and renovated.

It may also have escaped the attention of those who are planning such a destructive move that education of girls in Sierra Leone remains a very serious challenge. I would want to encourage them to direct and concentrate their efforts on rising to these serious challenges that we have in providing education for our youthful population both boys and girls.

In addition the school’s position just at the tip of the east end of Freetown provides it a unique opportunity to educate girls from all over the city and beyond. The wider problem of congestion and overcrowding in the city of Freetown certainly needs to be tackled but the Annie Walsh School needn’t become a casualty of those considerations.

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