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Stop sending students home: Education Minister tells school authorities

The Minister of Education Professor D. Ansu Sonii from a tour of several high schools in Maryland county, southeast Liberia, tells school authorities to stop sending students home for lateness because it exposes them to risk.

He says rather than turning away students, who come to school late, school authorities should punish them on campus by giving them chores to do during first period after which they may join their colleagues in class other than missing an entire school day.

Professor Sonii notes that the Ministry of Education has observed that sending students home because of lateness poses serious risk to both students and parents.

“Most of the parents cannot be home during the daytime; they usually go either on the farm to market or workplaces, so if you sent the child home, it will be like a setback to the child or parents”, he explains.

He reveals that to curtail such practice, the Ministry has developed a new policy that prohibits school authorities from sending students home for lateness.

Speaking in jam-parked local educational stakeholders and students’ engagement meeting on Friday, March 24, 2022, at the Cape Palmas High School in Harper City, Minister Sonii called on school administrators to find disciplinary tasks for late students during first-period class to enable them to remain on campus and later be allowed to join their colleagues during the second period rather than going home and missing classes.

“To see the kids going home, missing the whole day, it has a lot of risks involved, holding to the fact that their parents already know they are in school and later seeing their children out of school, is something we all need to work on”, he underscores.

At the daylong educational dialogue, the Minister also discloses that school authorities should maintain pregnant girls in school to avoid early dropout.

Speaking in a parental tone, he urges students especially females to apply more effort to their studies and stop looking up to boys for little or nothing.

Various stakeholders attended the forum including the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), National Parents Association (NPTAL), County Education Officer (CEO) District Education Officer (DEO) and students, among others.

Addressing the crowd during a reception ceremony held in Pleebo Sodoken District, Maryland County electoral district#2, Professor Sonii highlights four (4) cardinal points that he says are necessary to maintaining a strong educational system in the country.

He stresses a need to prioritize the plight of pensioners, retirees, underpaid teachers and volunteer teachers in order to strengthen educational sector.

He says teachers that were retired or pensioned from the classroom should be given what they deserve, disclosing that some of them have already begun receiving handshakes from government.

He adds that any teacher who was retired or pensioned but hasn’t benefited from the handshake should submit his/her name to the County Education Officer through the office of the DEO to ensure they benefit without stating how much is the handshake.

Sonii assures that the Government of Liberia is doing everything possible to reduce the number of volunteer teachers across the country by including them in the payroll and reveals that about fifteen (15) volunteer teachers from each of the 15 counties will be placed on government payroll before the end of 2022.

He calls local PTA of each public school to help by raising little amount of money to maintain volunteer teachers in the classroom until they can be placed on payroll.

Meanwhile, Professor Sonii discloses that beginning this academic year, 12th graders are required to pass at least three (3) subjects in the West African Senior Schools Certificate Exams (WASSCE) administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to qualify for graduation, while from 2023 to 2025 onward, senior students will be required to successfully pass five (5) subjects, including English and Mathematics before they may graduate.

He warns that students who may meet these requirements beginning next year, will not be eligible for graduation. Editing by Jonathan Browne


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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