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Public school teachers boycott test

Hundreds of public school teachers in Nimba County have boycotted a test being administered by the Ministry of Education. The test is intended to assess the ability of teachers on government payroll across the country.

But many public school teachers have expressed fear that the real motive for the ongoing exercise is to delete their names from the payroll in the wake of opposition by the National Teachers Association of Liberia or N’TAL to plan by the government to outsource primary education to a private company.

However, the Minister of Education George Werner says the claim is absolutely false as there is no plan to dismiss teachers who have publicly opposed the public-private partnership. Prior to the test, officials of the Nimba County chapter of N’TAL appeared on a community radio station in the county and called on teachers to boycott the test because it is a ploy by the ministry to get them out of the payroll.

The NewDawn gathers that there are over 6000 public school teachers in the county, but less than a 1000 wrote the test administered at the Nimba County Community College in Sanniquellie City. Some of the teachers, who spoke to our Nimba correspondent said, they have been in the classroom for more than 10 years without government requesting them to take test; why now?

When contacted, the County Education Officer or CEO for Nimba, Mr. Moses Dologbay, told our correspondent the action by the teachers is due to government’s failure to decentralize the test in the county as teachers from all five districts could not assemble at once in Sanniquellie to write the test. 

Mr. Dologbay said the county is too big to have only one testing center, and denied there was boycott by teachers. The Government of Liberia is encountering stiff resistance from teachers and international partners, including the United Nations to its plan to privatize and outsource primary education in the next five years.

Liberia’s Education Minister George Werner, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU with Bridge International Academies to kick start the process with reports that a pilot project has already begun with 70 schools here.

Bridge International Academies is a company incorporated in the United States under the name New Globe School Inc. Liberian authorities are expected to spend around US430 million over the five years period.

By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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