Despite a World Bank grant to public schools to enable them prepare for the resumption of the academic year, students of the Slipway Elementary School, one of the public schools under the Monrovia Consolidated Schools System or MCSS are being compelled to clean their campus in the Slipway Community and also constrained to bring along tide soap, brooms, hooks and cutlasses.
The students as old as 10 and12 were seen busy cleaning their school building on Friday, March 6th.
While some students were fetching water from the Mesurado River to scrub bathrooms and classrooms, others risked their lives in apparent desperation to return to school, and climbed the wall of the school building to scrub windows and walls.
An annex of the school building that had been abandoned by the school administration and the MCSS for the past two years due to its deplorable state and danger to life became a playground for some of the students.
But one of the teachers on campus was heard saying, “What should we do? We told them not to go there and still they are going there; these children are hardheaded.”
A community youth activist, Kelvin Y.B. Volar, Jr. told this paper that it is so unfortunate that a school owned and operated by the government that preaches against child labor, will turn around exploit children as young as 10 when they should impacting knowledge into them.
Volar said he was so frustrated when he saw young students being treated as slaves when they should be in class learning like their colleagues in and around Monrovia.
“Why should the administration of this school use the kids as slaves? Look…look see that small boy climbing on top of the window just to wash the wall, when we have heard that the World Bank gave each public school over US$2,000.00 to clean the school campus.”
According to him, one of the kids even asked him (Volar) for money to buy tide soap, adding that when he asked one of the teachers about the World Bank’s money given to public schools to clean their various campuses, he was told that the Monrovia Consolidated School System allegedly misapplied the money.
When the MCSS was contacted, its Public Affairs Office confirmed the World Bank provided “school grant” directly to public schools and the System has nothing to do with the funds, adding that the usage of the money is at the discretion of school administrators without the involvement of the System.
According to the office, the World Bank provided US$2.00 per each student or number of enrollment on each school campus.
One of the kids age 10 (name withheld), who climbed a wall to wash it, told this paper that they were told by their teachers that Friday, March 6th would have been a color day, but upon arrival on campus, they were asked to take buckets and old rags to wash bathrooms, classrooms and the wall of the school building.
The minor said upon hearing the assignment from the teachers, some of them tried escaping the campus, but were threatened that they will not be allowed to sit in class and will receive 50 lashes each.
When The Newawn visited the Slipway Elementary School to speak with the school administration and take pictures, security prevented this reporter and attempted seizing his camera.