A teacher training program under the auspices of Liberia Educational Action for Development, a local NGO, on Sunday, May 18, graduated 34 trainees in the various methodologies in the teaching profession.
The training program is instituted by LEAD to complement government’s strive aims at revamping the education sector.
The gender-based ceremony witnessed the graduation of 19 males and 15 females. A male trainee, Ballah Gobewole took the first place followed by a female, Comfort Johnson Greenfield—a second placer and the third placer, Augustine T. Fokoe, respectively.
Sunday’s graduation ceremony held at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) was the 14th Commencement Convocation of the LEAD National Teacher Training Program.
LEAD Executive Director, Z. Elijah Whapoe said, the entity came into existence in November 1995 at the height of the Liberian civil war with the desire of filling in the gaps left behind by trained teachers and other educationalists within the education system of the country. Since that time, the institution has trained and graduated over 1, 129 trained ‘C’ Certificate teachers.
The situation, Mr. Whapoe said created and unstoppable brain-drain at the time which seriously undermined the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) delivery capacity in attempt to bring about quality education in the country.
“Because of increased demands, along with great enthusiasm received within the needy educational sector, LEAD has been able to make immense contributions in the area of teacher education.”
Accordingly, LEAD has been operating within the guidelines set by the Division of Teacher Education, Certification Accreditation at the MOE.
LEAD vision is for all, especially the needy, to have access to quality education. It desires creating an enabling environment for the needy by providing teacher training and other education-related services.
The major programs include In-service and Pre-service teacher training; Functional adult literacy; School construction and renovation; Updating libraries and reading rooms, and providing scholarships for the needy.
In the health and sanitation services, LEAD concentrates on family life education (reproductive health education); promotion of general/personal hygiene; dissemination of HIV/AIDs related education as well as rehabilitation of war-ravished health facilities and community latrines and wells.
The institution is involves with the development of parents-teachers-students associations (PTSAs); girls’ education, civic and human rights education. It further conducts vocational skill training; build community capacities; conflict management and resolution; ethnic and value building; peace-building and trauma counseling, etc.
In his keynote address earlier on the topic, “Legacy of Liberia: Staggering Education with all Kinds of Teachers,” the Assistant Minister for Teacher Education at the Ministry of Education (MOE), Moses Blonkanjay Jackson, charged the graduates to come on board to strengthen the country’s education system, which Mr. Jackson claimed resembles a limping dog.
“When something is staggering, it is walking unsteadily, it is crippled and it is limping like a dog that has been hit by a speeding car and trying to move. That is how the Liberian education sector appeared to be staggering at least a decade ago, and maybe still is.”
According to Assistant Minister Jackson, Liberia students have a legacy of poor performance in school subjects; in the tests administered annually by the Monrovia office of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC); in university entrances; on the job when they managed by hook or crook to get employ upon the completion of their school year.
He said, those who called themselves college students in the country cannot “even compose a fitting letter of application; our students cannot speak good English, and so they cannot write.”
Under such conditions, Assistant Minister Jackson believes that the status of education in Liberia is lopsided and staggering; it not quality; it is discouraging, and it does not meet contemporary standards.
The ceremony brought together several education stakeholders, among them, chief education officers, district education officers and other international partners.