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Senator frowns on teachers’ retirement

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Montserrado County Senator and Chair on the Senate Committee on Executive, Saah H. Joseph, has talked tough here, saying that donors don’t control Liberia.

According to him, when donors come to help Liberia in the Education sector, the Minister of Education should tell them to work with Liberia’s program than to take teachers out of the classrooms because of donors’ criteria.

Speaking Tuesday in session of the Liberian Senate, the Congress for Democratic Change Senator said, the Ministry of Education should have told donors that they couldn’t drop teachers from the classroom because they didn’t meet their (donors’) criteria but rather use some of the $50 million dollars to train teachers across the country.

He continued that if donors are not willing to work with national plan, then they should be changed, adding that there are lots of donors around that they could find to help the educational sector of Liberia.

“This Liberian Senate will not sit and allow those teachers leave the classroom; we have to stand for our teachers; they are citizens of this country. Those teachers who have been serving all of those years, what will become of them when they leave the classroom? How does the Ministry expect them to survive?” Sen. Joseph frowned.

Appearing before the plenary of the Liberian Senate, the senator explained the current administration met the IMF program from the past government. He explained that there was a test given to teachers and those that failed were asked to be removed from the Ministry of Education.

However, Senator Joseph said there was a grace period for teachers who failed to equip themselves by going to school and acquiring a degree.

“Some teachers challenged it, they went to school, brought their documents and they were added to the list of qualified teachers.”

Deputy Education Minister Latin Dathong said the Ministry is not aware of any retirement process. According to him, the Civil Service Agency is responsible for retirement, noting, they are not happy with teachers being retired without replacement.

He stressed that the older teachers are the most experienced ones, and that retiring them could cause harm in the Educational sector.

According to Deputy Minister Latin, they have been pleading with the CSA to have some of the teachers maintain their positions until there is a qualified teacher to replace them in the classroom.

Meanwhile, the Senate has cited the Civil Service Agency, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Minister of Education to appear before plenary next Tuesday, March 16, to explain reasons behind the current retirement process without plans of replacement.

By Ethel A Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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