Liberia’s Minister of Education, Professor AnsuSonii says the global Coranaviruspandemic has placed the country’s education system under attack. “As you may be aware the development of young people, and our education system is under serious attack and we all must join hands”, he says.
Minister Soniiblew the alarm while addressing a news conference here Monday, August 3, 2020 in the Charles GbeyonConference Hall at the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill.
He explains that the decision to reopen schoolsis a result of tremendous progress made I the COVID-19 fight, and following series of consultations with health authorities, including President George Weah, who thought that it was important to allow grade school students return to class especially,12th graders who are to sit the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Professor Sonii notes that the Early Childhood Education or nursery level to 5th grade will not enrollin physical activities to complete the 2019/2020 academic year, as more review is conducted to adequately plan for the opening of the ECE level for the next academic year.
However, schools are urged to package lessons as homework for the ECE to 5th-grade students and plan for a one-time assessment.
The 12th graders’ classes which began on June 29, will end on August 14, 2020. The West African Senior Secondary Certification Examination is scheduled to start in Liberia on August 17, 2020, and end on September 2, 2020, which marks the full closure of the academic calendar for 12th graders for 2019/2020.
Schools are urged to complete internal assessment by August 3, to 7, 2020, and finalize report cards for distribution from October 26 to 30, 2020.
Except otherwise advised by the Ministry of Health, there shall be no assemblies for graduation ceremonies for all levels. The status of the health risk shall dictate the course of action, while options shall be announced as the time approaches.
At the same time Prof. Sonii added that 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th graders will begin classes effective August 10, 2020, and end on October 3, 2020, while schools are required to focus on four core subjects – Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies to complete the academic calendar 2019/2020.
The Minister adds that schools are also encouraged to conduct a continuous assessment based on the content covered during the catch-up classes through class and homework, projects, and quizzes to obtain report for 4th marking period in the case of those schools that did not complete the test before the COVID-19 disrupted school and 5th and 6th marking periods, respectively.
Tenth and 11th graders are expected to resume classes on October 5, 2020, and end on November 4, 2020, focusing on the four core subjects.
Professor Sonii stresses that all final assessment report cards for grades 1th to 11thshall be completed and distributed by November 16, to 25, 2020, while 12th graders’ report cards should be completed and distributed by October 26 to 30, 2020.
The Ministry of Education further emphasizes that while the enforcement of hygiene rules and practices for a safe school environment is school administrators’ responsibility, students, families, and communities also have an important role to play in ensuring compliance hence, parents are required to continuously observe their children and restrict any child that shows symptoms of COVID19from attending classes as well as contact the health team immediately.
By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne