Amid public criticism, the National Teachers Association of Liberia or NTAL says it welcomes recent proposal by President George M. Weah to bring in 6,000 teachers from Nigeria to strengthen the educational sector here.
Speaking to this paper in an exclusive interview on Monday, 26 March NTAL Acting National President, Mrs. Mary W. Mulbah Nyumah says, “We need experts to help especially in the Sciences, and there is a need to have teachers exchange, where teachers from Liberia can go to other countries, and teachers from others countries could come to carry on some interactive programs.”
She explains that when the NTAL leadership met with President Weah, they put before him difficulties the institution is faced with, noting that it was based upon their plight that President Weah has pledged to cut his salary by 25 percent to goes toward improving teachers’ wellbeing.
She discloses that NTAL had met with the Minister of Education Ansu Sonii prior to President Weah’s departure for Paris, France, adding that the proposal for 6, 000 teachers was based on the President own thought to help in the transformation process of the educational sector.
“We are aware of some experts that were to come, but that number is what we never thought of coming to this country; again no one can question the decision of the President, because we all need change.”
According to her, in their meeting with the Education Ministry, they were told 6,000 teachers are needed, saying, “But all we thought was those teachers were going to be Liberians, instead of foreigners, but that’s the decision of the President.”
Meanwhile, NTAL recalls public and private school teachers were disrespected by past regimes, adding that past administration failed to recognize role played by teachers.
“Past administration disrespected us; they never knew how important teachers were, our salaries were low, but with the recent meeting we had with the President, and the Ministry of Education, we can now see the respect that was lacking”. Madam Nyumah optimistically expresses.
News of 6,000 teachers to come from was greeted here with strong but mixed reservations with some Liberians in supportive, while others oppose the decision, rather preferring home-grown solution to problems plaguing the education sector.
However, the Executive Mansion in Monrovia subsequently clarified that the President meant corps of experts from Nigeria to help train their counterparts in Liberia, and not 6,000 Nigerian teachers as reported.
By Lewis S. Teh -Editing by Jonathan Browne