Barely a day after the Ministry of Education rescheduled the date for the reopening of schools from February 16th to March 2nd, the ministry has somersaulted, maintaining that schools that are ready will resume full academic activities on February 16, while those unprepared may reopen on March 2nd, creating serious uncertainty about the academic calendar.
Authorities at the Ministry of Education had announced earlier that schools will reopen on February 16th this year amid public plead for two weeks extension to enable parents adequately prepare financially to pay their kids’ fees. But the ministry defended that the decision to reopen schools on February 16th followed distribution of Ebola preventive materials to schools across the country.
Speaking Thursday, February 12, 2015 at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism’s daily press briefings, Deputy Education Minister for Administration, Ramsey Koumuyah, said in keeping with protocol every schools across the country must have preventive materials to reduce transmissions among students and school authorities.
He said the Government is concerned about the learning environment of students across the country, saying, “We want to put proper measures in place for the safety of the children.”
The Deputy Education Boss added that schools that will open on 16 February are those that have received those preventive materials in Montserrado and other counties, while the rest will resume in March when they shall have received all of the preventive materials by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
According to him, the ministry is no defiant with members of the House of Representatives on the postponement of the reopening date for schools, acknowledging, “Ebola is still in Liberia; before our children can acquire knowledge from the classroom, there is need for them to be protected, and such protection is providing them with thermometers, hand washing buckets, chlorine, among other things.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Education Minister for Instructions, Madam Hawa Goll Kotchi, said the Ministries of Education and Health are still in the process of distributing preventive materials to various schools across the country.
She said it is not about one school receiving and leaving the others behind, as the distribution is for every school in Liberia.
Madam Kotchi told reporters that in order to have access to quality education in Liberia, there is need to provide clean and safe environment for students to learn, saying, “The Ebola virus has caused many students to lose focus due to lost of family and immediate relatives.”
The Deputy Minister also warned students in graduation class that there will be no graduation until the West African Examination Council releases results of its annual exams, adding that the Ministry has observed that school officials were allowing senior students to graduate without the WAEC result.
By Lewis Teh