Barely a day after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf threatened to shut down schools, dismiss teachers and deal with students, who were involved in recent street protests in Kakata and other parts of Margibi County, a private school principal has described the plan as the worst thing ever to be done in the country.
President Sirleaf had been in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly along with some of her officials, but she returned to the country on Wednesday, September 28, and told reporters at the Roberts International Airport she had already been briefed about students rampaging and erecting blockage in solidarity with teachers’ call for the resignation of Education Minister George Werner and the Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System, Adolphus Jacobs.
The students had also taken the action in demand of their teachers whom they claimed have been absent from class for several days. President Sirleaf has announced that she will order the closure of schools involved and dismiss teachers of those schools.
But the Principal of the St. Augustine Episcopal Mission High School in Kakata, Margibi County Abe KortuKerkular has seriously disagreed with the President, describing the planned closure as the worst action to take.
He spoke to reporters on Thursday, September 29, on the main campus of the school. According to Mr. Kerkular, the demonstration or situation could intensify, warning that there is no need to dismiss anyone.
He said unless dialogue fails, shutting down schools and firing teachers will be the worst thing to do. He said teachers now have fear that they will be dismissed if the current Education Minister George Warner continues to head the Ministry of Education.
According to him, the best option right now is to allay the fear of teachers and give the assurance to maintaining schools opened. The St. Augustine Principal further noted that the government should be serious about this problem by addressing the teachers’ concerns, which range from lack of consultation and poor administrative decision by the George Werner-led administration.
By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi-Editing by Jonathan Browne