The political leader of the Movement for progressive Change (MPC), Simeon Freeman, has weighed in on the debate regarding the country’s academic calendar.
Mr. Freeman has given his full backing to the recent proposal by authorities of the Ministry of Education (MOE) on the reform policy of schools to be closed by July 31 and reopened September, 2015.
Mr. Freeman indicated that his support for the reform policy is because the country is in need of a “vibrant education system.”
He said the decision by MOE authorities is to steamline a robust education reform process since the sector has been described by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as a “mess.”
“I support the reform process but the MOE and the government made mistakes in the way they came up with the reform policy. Education Minister George Werner should have discussed the change in the calendar of events with the teachers, Lawmakers and civil Society organizations to have their input before making the public pronouncement,” Mr. Freeman asserted.
It was important for schools to close and re-open in September to enable the students to be well prepared to sit for exams administered annually by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) he contended.
He stated that 40 percent of high school teachers are yet to enter teacher training institute and that some do not hold a Bachelor’s degree while others are not even high school graduates. It is because of this shortfall that the need for the country’s education sector to be revamped cannot be over emphasized.
“ Even though I want to be president of Liberia, I will not pretend like other politicians that I will support the protest of the students because the academic system is bad, neither will I want to be president deceiving our students failing massively in exams.”
Mr. Freeman called on Liberians to rally support for the Werner-led education administration to work and strengthen the system.
He als called on the Lawmakers, parents, guardians and students to allow the MOE to implement its mandate by developing, promoting and implementing policies that will provide a better education system for the country.
He attributed parent and student protests to the tuition they paid prior to the MOE’s new policy, “but I am saying let the government pay off the first semester school fees for all private schools during the new academic term.”