The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance Development and Planning (MFDP) yesterday provided US$140,155 to the William Booth High School in Paynesville.
The fund is in support of the rehabilitation of the school, which was recently gutted by fire. The school is part of the Salvation Army School System in Liberia.
Mr. Augustine Blama, Assistant Minister for Budget at the Finance Ministry, who proxied for Minister Amara Konneh, said the government remains committed to ensuring that the students returned to school despite the fire incident.
“The school currently has a little over 890 students for the 2015 academic year and the government was saddened by the fire disaster that would have left hundreds of students out of school this year,” Mr. Blama said.
He disclosed that since the fire disaster, the MFDP through Minister Konneh has been working with the Salvation Army and the William Booth authorities to ensure that the students returned to school with normal teaching activities in place.
The government will continue to partner with all private schools in the country in building their capacity by providing some relief and also ensuring that government provides all Liberian students the opportunity for quality education.
“The government will continue to ensure that parents don’t suffer from any hike in tuition that affects the enrollment of students in private schools,” he maintained.
“With the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country, government is committed to ensuring that all parents are able to afford their children’s school fees,” he added.
Receiving the cheque on behalf of the Salvation Army William Booth High School, Col. Gabriel M. Kathuri thanked the government for helping the school administration and the students in the rehabilitation of the school.
“We need to pray for the person or persons who burnt the school. They thought that by burning the school students would have been stopped from coming to school again or have a place to continue their education,” he said.
The situation was very terrible for the students and teachers, considering the current economic situation in the country and also the financial strain parents would have experienced relocating their children to other schools.
The director of the Salvation Army School Secretariat, David Massaquoi, who provided an update on the burning of the school, explained, “It was frustrating for students who did not know that the school building had burned down just two days after school reopened. They came prepared the next morning and unfortunately, there were no classrooms. This was an emotional moment, very sad for us all.”
According to him, this was the first time the Salvation Army school system in the country had experienced a fire disaster, which completely burnt the building.
“This is something we had not planned for. We were just returning from the Ebola crisis and had to replace some basic materials for the resumption of classes. The Army did all in their power to get the school ready with the limited resources available in order to resume school; and then the fire disaster happened.”