Education Minister-designate, George Werner, has vowed to overhaul the Liberian educational system from “mess” to best.
President Ellen Johnson had described the entire educational system here as a “mess”, noting that students perform far below their standards with some of them graduating from university with 9th grade education.
But Mr. Werner, who was recently nominated to the post by President Sirleaf, told the Senate Committee on Education Friday 15 May during confirmation that he would graduate the education system from “mess” to “best”.
Prior to his nomination to the Education Ministry, he served as Director-General of the Civil Service Agency.
His comment was in response to a question from Senator Oscar Cooper of Margibi County on how he (Werner) intends to transform the education sector in the face of inadequate support.
The hearing was held over the weekend at the Capitol Building under the watch of Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education.
Mr. Werner said if confirmed, he would also need the political support despite his experience as a classroom teacher for years. “It is not just about money; sometimes it is about commitment, identity and leadership and that is where the political leadership comes in”, he stressed.
According to him, while at the CSA, there were things he wanted to have done in solving the payroll problem at the agency because he felt they were necessary, but pointed out that his effort appeared wrong to some, something he noted, led to the senate inviting him to explain why the government wanted to reduce the number of civil servants on the payroll.
“There were things we would have loved to do to fix the payroll system at the CSA, but we could not do them; either we did them wrongly. In other words, we cannot pay teachers what we want to pay them; their salaries must commensurate with the time”, the former CSA boss narrated.
Mr. Werner, who was once rejected by the Liberian Senate for the position of Health Minister, appeared before the Senate Committee on Education to convince that body why he should be confirmed as Liberia’s next Education Minister. If confirmed, he will replace current Minister Madam Etmonia David Tarpeh.
Liberia’s educational system is faced with enormous challenges ranging from lack of qualified instructors, poor learning environment and facilities, including libraries and science laboratories to infrastructures and poor salaries, among others. By Ben P. Wesee – Edited by Jonathan Browne