The William V.S. Tubman Pre-Primary School established in 1953, located in the Township of Virginia, at the first Bus Stop in Central Virginia, is one of the oldest government schools in the country, but its infrastructure lacks the appearance of a school bearing the name of past president William V.S. Tubman, portraying the love the late President had for education.
The school currently has over 200 students leading form nursery to 1st Grade, with a strong irritating smell due to a filled latrine once used by the school, which is threatening the health of the kids and their teachers.
The current state of the school was captured under the spotlight during a recent donation exercise by a USA based NGO called PIC ME made with over 7 schools in the Township of Virginia and Brewerville. Those schools that benefited were; Blessing From Above Day-Care & Elementary School, Isaac G. Tondo Public School, EJ Pratt Community School, Christ Foundation Academy, Bamboo Town Public School, William V.S Tubman Pre-Primary School, etc.
According to the Principal of the William V.S. Pre-Primary School Madam Angie Brooks, the teachers in the school are on government’s payroll, except for two whose names were recently deleted from the payroll. She added that the school will be dropped from the Mary Meal feeding program due to the terrifying scent from the filled pit toilet.
Mary’s Meal is a welfare and nongovernmental organization based in Iowa, the United States of America providing food for the school, but it has threatened to withdraw support if the prevailing situation on the campus cannot improve.
She appreciated Mr. Isaac Joseph Cooper for selecting her school among other schools to receive donation of school materials from the international group “PIC ME” headed by Madam LauraineDanpunue who is based in the United States of America.
Madam Brooks lamented that the first time her school was ever featured in a newspaper was through the donation of school materials exercise by PIC ME. “I am very proud of PIC ME and hope that government will follow suit by helping our kids to preserve better health in such an old outdated structure”.
Speaking to the closing program in Virginia was Mr.GbiSayonJlateh, a staff of the office of Montserrado County Senator Hon. Geraldine Doe-Sheriff. He encouraged students to be focused and take their education seriously.
Mr.Jlateh informed the students that senator Geraldine Doe-sheriff would have love to be present and is in sympathy with the deplorable condition the William V.S. Tubman Pre-primary school is faced with currently, he also lamented that the senator has been moved to make donation of school materials to the international group ‘PIC ME’ as a means of appreciation to the good work, the group is doing in Liberia through its focus person Mr. Isaac Joseph Cooper.
The executive director of PIC ME Madam LauraineDanpunue lamented, that she shed tears during her first visit to Liberia, when she saw young going age kids selling what she term as cold water on the streets rather than going to school. She added that the current donations by PIC ME are 80% funded from her own pocket, amounting to over US$10,000 dollars. She said some of the materials donated by PIC ME are basic materials for learning like over 400 schools bags, 2500 notebooks, pens, pencils, color pencils, educational games, etc.
She lectured and had interactive activities with students from over 7 schools in the Township of Virginia and Brewerville over the days, through educational games. She encouraged students to take the materials very serious and let her know, what they think about it. She said, the program will be a continuous process, and is calling on Liberians who believe in kids’ preparation for a successful future, to make donations in order to cover more schools. Madam Danpunue enlightened students that they can be whatever they want to be if they keep focus, “you can even be Barrack Obama” she said, as she welcomed Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff donations, as the first from Liberia and encourage more Liberians to make donations.
In reality, the condition of some of the schools, most especially the William V.S. Tubman doesn’t look as if it is recognized by the government as she encouraged students to get education and give back to their schools.
Speaking to Mr. Isaac Joseph Cooper who is the focus person of PIC ME in Liberia, said “the school was selected due to its nature and being the oldest kindergarten school for most Virginians who live in Central Virginia over the last 50 years and even now.”
He added “students of this school are mostly children of less fortunate parents residing in Virginia. Most of the students lack basic school materials for learning, but eager to learn.” He also thanked Hon. Geraldine Doe-Sheriff Senator of Montserrado County, and his international partner madam LauraineDunpune, and her husband Demian James who is identified to be a Jamaican.
Mr. Cooper encouraged students to take care of the materials if they should benefit more from PIC ME, and commended Mr. James for recognizing the kids in Liberia for PIC ME donations rather than his home country Jamaica.
Some students during the program expressed disappointment over the current state of the school, the students said they are embarrassed with the school building and the only toilet at the school is filled.
Students admitted that they are not feeling happy because people look inside their building. All their friends are going to good schools, and they don’t even have toilet again. “Some of us can pupu in the plastics and some of us can pupu in the grass, which make us venerable to snake bite and at times make us sick with fever.” most of them said. “Our school is not in good condition, but the teachers are really teaching. The rain season makes learning embarrassing due to our school buildings that makes us expose to the rain falls”.
A resident called Cecelia Nyokon, who sells in the first Bus Stop Community market said, “The dust from the floor of the building cause students wearing the blue and white uniforms, to appear as if they are using white uniforms during the dry season”.
The 1st grade teacher madam Ruthie A. Carter said the community has been trying to save the school, but the condition of the school currently is deteriorating, and as such, they have made several appeals, but to no avail. It is her hope that the donation exercise of PIC ME will spark more attention.
Mr. Isaac Joseph Cooper the focus person of PIC ME in Liberia said, besides the open defecation at the campus, the school building does not look like any school around capital cities”, the William V.S. Tubman Pre-primary School is only old in age, but the school facilities do not look good with such name portraying the love the late President William V.S. Tubman had for education.
The William V.S. Tubman Pre-primary School is a zinc round structure; no floor with so-called walls outdated with old zinc and bamboo mats. The structure doesn’t represent a place for to the children that are called the future leaders taking into consideration its proximity to Monrovia, he said.
He is calling on the Government and the Tubman family, as we as philanthropists and NGOs, to rescue the school where he got his basic nursery and Kindergarten education from many years ago.
Upon taking over officially as Minister of Education in 2015, George Werner promised to rebrand the education system of the country by renovating damaged structures, provision of benches, ensure that school campuses are in better condition, school supervisions were to be one of the robust steps among others. Meanwhile, efforts to get the side of the Ministry of Education regarding the conditions of the students prove unproductive.