As Liberia struggles to clean up its messy educational sector to meet up with international standard, a Liberian educator and education developer, Moses Blonkanjay Jackson, wants the sector in Liberia be stabilized by employing the right teachers.
Jackson said government needs to do more in stabilizing the education sector in Liberia which, according to him (Jackson), has turned into a fiasco.
He disclosed that currently Liberia has over 44,000 teachers. “Out of the 44,000 there are little over 22,000 unqualified teachers in our classrooms that need to be trained,” he noted.
Mr. Jackson, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Diversified Educators Empowerment Project (DEEP), said many of the teachers in the classrooms lack the ability to prepare their own lesson plan and present lecture to students.
“We need to work on that if we are serious to improve this sector. We even have teachers who ask student for sex for grades, some demand money from students, the interesting part about it is that many of them are not even able to dress, their dress code is bad,” he said.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholders consultative meeting organized by the National Education Coalition of Liberia (NECOL), Jackson frowned on teachers who have only obtained a BSc and are teaching students opting to acquire the same BSs degree.
“We should not even have high school graduate teaching our schools, knowing that those graduates did not attend any teachers training programs to qualify them for teaching,” he said.
He called on authorities at the Ministry of Education to put in place programs that will help to rebrand the educational system in Liberia.
He, however, thanked NECOL for organizing the meeting to identify the problems in the sector and find remedy to them and help improve the educational system in the country.
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NECOL is a group founded in the form a worker union to protect the interest of teachers and its members. The organization has opened its doors to any registered group in the promotion of education both in Liberia and around the world.
The National Coordinator of NECOL, C. Abayomi Cole, III, in his remarks called for students’ protection in various schools around the country.
Cole said many at times students suffer, especially during political seasons by not attending class because their schools are used as voting centers.
“Not only in national election alone, even in by-elections in some areas, students don’t go to school because their campuses are used for voting while other parts of the country other kids attend classes,” he said.
He added, “When there is a riot during the political season, the students suffer, the schools suffer and even the teachers suffer as well because many at times, those schools close because of the riot,” he noted.
He, however, welcomed the President George Weah’s decision to declare free tuition in all of the public universities in Liberia, but urged the government to legislate the process to avoid setback in the future.
NECOL is sponsored by Oxfam in Liberia. The program Director of Oxfam, Eugene Beleto thanked the group for organizing the event.
“When these problems are identified and looked into by the relevant authorities, it will help in the process of solution. We at Oxfam will continue to work and help improve the sector as we are doing now funding this group,” he said. The interactive meeting brought together education developers, teachers, civil society organization to brainstorm and identify problems in the educational sector of Liberia and find the way forward.