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School Reopening: Two Week extension acceptable, But….

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The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Education, on last Friday, announced an extension of the date for the reopening of schools throughout Liberia.

The ministry had set Monday, February 2 as the official date for all schools in Liberia to reopen- a decision greeted with complaints and appeals from parents, guardians, self-supported students, as well as a few public officials, including Montserrado County Senator George Manneh Weah.

The persistency which characterized these numerous complaints and appeals, and considering the position of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the Ministry of Education to be very scrupulous in meeting its target and not just meeting up with deadline, may have resulted t a second thought on the part of the ministry to the extend the February 2 benchmark by two weeks- this means, all schools will now reopen on February 13.

This new decision, according to authorities of the Education Ministry,  was intended to enable parents, guardians, self-supported students, sponsors and other school administrators yet to register their children to better prepare to do so. Moreover, the extension will facilitate the distribution of Ebola-related sanitary to all schools.

The reopening of schools is in consonance with the high level of progress in the country’s battle against the deadly Ebola virus which hit the nation early last year and continued- compelling the Government of Liberia to close all schools as a means to prevent the spread of the EVD among students and teachers.

Even though many had called for schools to reopen in March instead of February 2 of this year due to the their unpreparedness arising from the economic crisis created by Ebola, we think the February 13 extension is an acceptable common ground for both the government and all sponsors of students. While we sympathize with the conditions of parents and others, it also better that we as a nation, stay within the confines of the instructional period of our school- something that will now run up to  the first or second week in December of this ( due to the extension).

While we commend the Ministry of Education for this latest development, its attention must also be drawn to the unwarranted hike in school fees at most private schools, especially in Monrovia and environs- the seat of the government.

It is no secret that in many private and church schools, schools fees and registration have been increased by either a hundred percent or fifty percent – an action that is creating another economic ‘hazard’ for many. Whether or not the authorities of the ministry may be in the know of such unscrupulous decision, the need to move in and correct the situation cannot be over-emphasized.

In as much the Central Bank of Liberia or CBL undertook a project to write-off loans owed by private schools, it is also incumbent upon these institutions to be very reasonable in deciding their respective fees, considering what parents and other sponsors  are currently experiencing.

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