-Describes them as bedrock for development
Speaking at the installation ceremony of the Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers Association (MCSSTA) at the G. W. Gibson High School auditorium on Friday, Rep. Munah Pelham Youngblood (Mont. Co District 9) said it is about time her colleagues in the Legislature “see the reason to increase our teachers’ salaries and benefits.”
She said teachers serve in a field that most people refer to as “people who cannot get rich or cannot progress in life.”
“But what remains the fact is, teachers are the bedrock for genuine development which all nations depend on to mentor responsible citizens,” she said.
Rep. Youngblood said teachers’ invaluable services in Liberia’s rebuilding cannot be underestimated, and that despite the challenges, “you continue to uphold the ethics of the profession.”
Teaching, she said, is a call to national duty, and “not necessarily about material benefits or riches. Declared or undeclared, teachers are the reason ministers, doctors, nurses and even president exist today.”
Pointing out that “no one can attach value to what you do than yourselves,” Rep. Youngblood said teachers should at all times prove that they are responsible for the civility of Liberia because with ignorance, the minds of the people will not venture into positive things.
“Let me not hesitate to say that among you people there are bad apples, those who get in the field because of hardship, using the profession as a steppingstone or for temporary survival.
“Beware that some of them are dangerous, who exploit female students and intimidate the male students. However, some of those who are using the profession as a steppingstone get attracted and remain with the profession because life is dynamic,” she said.
“You are not paid well in line with our growing economic challenges. Your children are at times thrown out of school because of school fees and many of you have been evicted because of rental fees and so on.”
Rep. Youngblood asked the MCSSTA leadership to remain true to their profession and work with the school system for progress. She told them to display the characteristics of a good teacher, including friendliness and cordiality, good personality, deep knowledge of subject matter, good communicators and good listeners.
She meanwhile urged them to avoid violence of any kind, and admonish them to participate in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
Installing the MCSSTA officials, Charles Coffey, president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), urged the new administration not to encourage division but to ensure the progress of the association.
Coffey advised the leadership to be answerable to members of the association and to use dialogue to resolve any future misunderstanding. “Your people have put confidence in you and therefore work in their interest,” he said.
MCSS Superintendent Adolphus B. Jacobs said the MCSSTA must work to promote the interest of the association. “Don’t turn your guns on me; focus on those that elected you. If you turn your guns on me, I’ll fight back,” Jacobs said.
In his inaugural address, MCSSTA president Veto V. Garway called on the government to provide teachers scholarships at home and abroad to improve education in the country.
Garway called for salary adjustments for teachers and other instructional staff, adding that his administration will cooperate with the MCSS administration for the betterment of the country.
Other installed officials included vice president for administration, Ms. Anna B. Sirleaf; vice president for operations, Foday J. Kallon; Benjamin Julu, secretary general; financial secretary, Wilfred F. Kizekai; treasurer, Caroline Y. Tuah; and Rev. Sackie S. Forkpah, chaplain.