Recognising that young people are an important part of the ongoing national digital transformation drive, the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation organised its first National Tech & Innovation Essay Competition. Created with the aim of getting school-going pupils to address thought-provoking topics which highlight the role and importance of tech. in our everyday lives, the submissions were inspirational.

The essay writing contest itself was set up to complement the government’s free quality education program by encouraging young writers to demonstrate their writing talents. With the express aim of providing a platform to help young people exercise their creativity and critical thinking, the pieces unearthed young writers with a broad range of skills. This similarly reaffirms the Directorate’s commitment to enlisting young people as a sounding board for measuring the impact of DSTI’s digital solutions and human capital interventions.

A total of 203 essay submissions were received from across the Western Area and these went through an initial screening exercise jointly conducted by the Ministry of Basic Education’s delivery team and DSTI personnel to select the best … (x) essays. Upon completion of this, the best essays were forwarded to the judging committee for grading. This committee comprised a seasoned group of academics and educators including Dr. Yakama Manty Jones, Dr. Albert Dupigny, Dr. Mohamed Kamanda and Ms Miriam (insert surname). 

After being judged and graded, essay scores submitted by every judge, for each essay, were then collated to give an individual, total score, for each essay submitted. At the end of this process, the worthy winners were; 

Victoria Mambu came in 1st place with 72%, Salieu Bangura. 

2nd place with 66% and Eric Dura Sesay came in 3rd place with 61% for the secondary school category.

We congratulate the winning pupils on this commendable feat and hope this serves as an inspiration to others who could not take part in the inaugural competition. Speaking on the essence of the competition DSTI’s Communications Lead; Mariama Khadija Rogers-Mansaray emphasised that “Bringing DSTI to the people of Sierra Leone remains a compelling priority. This competition was devised so young children can transmit our message of hope and possibility to their communities. We’ll stop at nothing to build a future we can be proud of.”

When quizzed on the next steps, she confirmed that as part of its public outreach program, there are plans to host an inter-college debate contest later in the year. This will serve to further inform the public about the groundbreaking interventions ongoing at DSTI and how these solutions are already shaping a sustainable future premised on radical inclusion.