Montserrado County Education Officer Madam Cecelia T. Reeves has disclosed here that illegal money collection and sexual harassment by some teachers in schools across the country are hindering the education system in Liberia.
She said the situation was becoming alarming in various schools in Montserrado and its environs to the extent that school going children have no time left to pay attention to their lessons, because their focus is on money collection or providing sex for grades.
Madam Reeves made the disclosure over the weekend at the observance of the 23rd gala anniversary of the Noah Ark High School in Barnesville along the Somalia Drive, outside Monrovia. The Montserrado County CEO emphasized it was about time children remain in school, because they are future leaders.
She said demanding money from students and sexual harassment by teachers is unacceptable to the socio-economic growth of Liberia. CEO Reeves pointed out the illiteracy rate in Liberia is alarming, so no teacher should find it enjoyable or interesting to demand money or sex from students, a practice she stressed need to stop, because it does no good for the children whom the nation depends on for the future.
She commended authorities of the Noak Ark High School for the level of progress made in providing learning opportunity for Liberian children to enable them become career leaders for the future, saying “I want to thank you the principal, and your staffs for your tireless efforts in rebuilding our damaged education system; this is what we call a school building.”
“A well infrastructure school building with quality teachers is the best thing that various schools should have in this country, because as a school, you are impacting knowledge to the youthful population, so the environment must always speak volume to others that your school is of quality.”
She noted that according to the code of conduct issued by the Ministry of Education, teachers teaching from grade 10th to 12th must have at least a BSc. degree, and an A certificate which qualify them to teach in the classroom.
Providing a brief history of the school, Mr. Joseph D. Bestman Principal of the Noah Ark High School said the institution was established after the Octopus War in 1992 when living conditions of many Liberians were deplorable. “After the war, I decided to open a study class just to sustain my family”, he added.
Principal Bestman continued that subsequently, the charity Adventist Development and Relief Agency or ADRA began food distribution “but at the time I was unable to get any food from the organization on grounds that my students did not reach the benchmark, so from that time upward I started going out to various houses, recruiting more students just to reach the exact number to receive food from ADRA.”
Mr. Bestman said at that time things were very difficult for him, saying “because I just came from the University of Liberia with just a BSc degree in Mathematics. After a while, ADRA came back with the same feeding program and my school received food from the organization. So I divided the food – 50 percent went for feeding, and another 50 percent went for selling that was how I grew the school before changing its name in 1993 to Noah Ark.”
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne