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USAID to train 3,500 teacher aspirants

In an effort to provide qualified teachers in Liberian schools, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) discloses plan to train 3,500 aspirants for the teaching profession.

USAID made the disclosure here on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 in commemoration of World Teachers Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of Teachers, setting standards regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers for their initial preparation, further education, recruitment, employment, and learning conditions, among others.

The statement notes that this year’s commemoration coincides with a key milestone achieved by USAID’s new teacher training program, Transforming the Education System for Teachers and Students in Liberia or TESTS, for short.

USAID notes that working in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the National Commission on Higher Education, and eight public, private, and faith-based higher education teacher training institutions, it recently provided the first batch of tuition assistance to 18 talented and dedicated Liberian teacher-aspirants.

“They are the first of 575 Liberians scheduled to receive tuition support from USAID in 2023 to help professionalize Liberia’s teaching workforce”, the statement reads.

It says by the time the TESTS program ends in five years, it would have prepared at least 3,500 teacher aspirants for future classroom success with two-years of tuition assistance, improved curricula, and a practicum as part of an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree program in early childhood and primary education, adding “This support will help address Liberia’s qualified teacher shortage problem.”

It recounts that the United States has long recognized the importance of helping to provide qualified teachers for Liberian schools, stressing that some of USAID’s very first development projects in Liberia were in teacher professional development.”

USAID specifically names the Zorzor Rural Teacher Training Institute, and the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute that were established with funding from the United States Government in 1962 and 1964, respectively.

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It says these institutions have trained many current teachers and continue to recruit high school graduates and award them C-certificate after two years of teacher training.

USAID continues that the new teacher training program focused on supporting students to pursue degree granting programs in early childhood and primary education, it is building on the gains of these institutions, while strengthening capacity of higher education teacher training institutions it is partnering with to implement the new program.

It names the partner institutions as the University of Liberia, Cuttington University, Nimba University, Adventist University of West Africa, African Methodist Episcopal University, Bass University, Lofa University, and the Liberian Cooperative Education School System.

The statement says USAID is working with these institutions to harmonize the curriculum for early childhood and primary education, provide faculty professional development opportunities and grants to help improve quality of training they provide for teachers specializing in these programs.

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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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