The Director of Education for the Seventh Day Adventist or SDA schools in Liberia, Madam Theresa Dweh Sheriff, has expressed gratitude to the Government of Liberia for the re- opening of schools across the country, but appealed for subsidy to adequately prepare for the rather challenging academic year.
She said the Ebola outbreak has brought a great set back to the SDA school system, saying that teachers were paid during the compulsory closure of schools from August 2014 to present.
The SDA Education Director noted that schools run by the Seventh Day Church are non-profit, so a 12 months budget is prepared annually to pay teachers and run the academic program.
She appealed to the Government for assistance in the form of subsidy, adding that the SDA school system has been indebted to teachers for about 5 months and no money in the school’s account to pay teachers because schools were shutdown and students were not paying fees during the peak of the Ebola outbreak last year.
She said schools are re-opened, but teachers are threatening to boycott class if salary arrears were not paid.
According to her, the Government will not be giving the usual subsidy provided SDA schools so they are being constrained to operate on 12 months budget to settle 15 months, which she termed as a serious problem for the school system.
Madam Sheriff also said the SDA Church in Liberia operates 24 schools and a university, adding that the schools include nine senior high and three junior high schools, 11 elementary schools and one boarding school, in six counties.
She added that already teachers have been trained to handle any suspected Ebola case on campus, including a Faculty Ebola Response Team and a temporary isolation center in all SDA schools, while each classroom has a bucket of chlorinated water for students and teachers to wash their hands before entering and leaving class.
By Ethel A. Tweh