President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has held a major meeting with stakeholders of the educational sector.
President Sirleaf, joined by Education Minister George Werner and his Deputy for Instructions, Dr. Romell Horton at her Foreign Ministry Office, welcomed the stakeholders and informed them that considering the need for urgent reform of the educational system, she thought it wise to invite them for consultation, hear their concerns and solicit their inputs into the educational system and make suggestions on the reform, particularly how all actors and stakeholders- working in concert with the Government, can bring some improvement and sanity to the sector.
She admonished the stakeholders to feel free and fearless in presenting their thoughts on the sector for the good of the country and its young people.
Education Minister George Werner gave a background to the measures recently announced by the Government, through the Ministry, and also informed the stakeholders about a number of ongoing interventions meant to improve the sector, pointing out that based on his recent assessment of schools across the country, including those in southeastern Liberia, there were now efforts to evaluate the functionality of schools operating in the country.
He disclosed that a biometric system of identifying teachers was being established, appealing to the stakeholders to work with the Government, through the Ministry of Education, in ensuring that no child is left behind in Liberia.
Making inputs and contributions, the stakeholders raised various concerns about measures recently announced by the Ministry of Education, equally advancing several recommendations and suggestions on how to make the sector better and ensure all of the reforms required and deemed necessary are made without conflict and reversals of the gains already made in the sector.
They brainstormed the timeframe of the proposed school year, tuition issues, textbooks, conclusion of the current school year, as well as the achievement and progress of students, teachers’ concern, among others, with tangible recommendations and proposals on how to mitigate all the competing challenges and concerns of the sector at present.
President Sirleaf thanked the stakeholders for their frank discussions, as well as all of the meaningful and positive recommendations, proposals and suggestions made during the meeting, assuring that the government will reflect on the recommendations and that the consultation process between the government and stakeholders would continue.
The Liberian leader urged stakeholders to continue with different levels of consultations that would target teachers, students, Parent/Teachers Associations, etc. as they anticipate further consultations with Government.
Educational stakeholders present at the meeting included Sister Mary Laurene Brown of Stella Maris, Sister Barbara Brillant of Mother Pattern, the Catholic Education Secretariat, the head of St. Theresa Convent, the Methodist school system, Episcopal school system, Baptist school system, Lutheran school system, as well as the Salvation Army School system, Rev. Olu Menjay of the Baptist-run Ricks Institute, the President of the National Principals Association, UNICEF-Liberia, European Union Delegation to Liberia, USAID, Madam Olive White, among others. Editing by George Barpeen