The Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education or COTAE has ended a one-day meeting in Gbarnga, Bong County, as part of the organization’s efforts in soliciting opinions of stake holders in the educational sector to create a viable educational system.
Discussions at the meeting highlighted the New Education Reform Law, and how citizens can engage the Government of Liberia to fully implement this new educational policy with emphasis on the county school board.
The Regional Coordinator of COTAE told the New Dawn-Liberia following the meeting that his institution was working toward ensuring that the county school boards were effective. Jonathan Doumah noted that it was important for quality education to be prioritized as per the new reform law, adding that a lot was learnt at the meeting, including a complaint that the board was not capacitated to execute its duties as required by the education reform law.
Doumah emphasized the need for everyone to exert efforts in the realization of a vibrant educational sector, stressing the enhancement of the quality of education in Liberia. Participants of the meeting described the Gbarnga gathering as a consequential milestone for a vibrant educational system, expressing satisfaction about the meeting.
Indications are that many people in Bong County lack understanding about the function of the county school board as almost nothing is being heard about it. The Chairman of the Bong County School board, also present at the COTAE meeting, complained of major decisions emanating from Monrovia (Ministry of education) to the board.
As the Bong County School board continues to take blames for not doing enough to improve the county’s learning environment, Madam Cecelia Gbafore noted that the board did not have the capacity to execute its responsibilities as provided by the new education law.
She told the gathering that the county board was not been respected in major decisions taken by the Ministry of Education, citing the suspension of two District Education Officers or DEOs and two principals for hiking tuition fees.
Madam Gbafore added that the county school board was never consulted before the suspension of the school administrators, noting that despite the decision by the Education Ministry, she has been asked to conduct further investigation into the issue.
“I don’t know what they want me to investigate, when they suspended the people without our concern”. She stated at the meeting. The meeting brought together civil society representatives, students from the various learning institutions in the county and education authorities.