The Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), John Mark Winfield, has stressed the need for more women to get involved in Teacher training and enter the classroom.
In his keynote address recently in Zorzor, Lofa County where the Zorzor Rural Teacher Training Institute (ZRTTI) graduated 150 teachers, Mr. Winfield who himself is a teacher, underscored that it is important to increase the enrollment of women in the teacher training program.
He did not state in his keynote address why it would be important to increase women in the Teaching field; however, a campaign to have women participation in key decision making and workplaces has taken center stage over the years.
Moreover, educators believe that women make good teachers because of their patience and compassion especially in dealing with kindergarten and primary students who need special and dedicated care to grasp the lessons.
There were 30 women represented in the recently held graduation exercise in Zorzor. Despite this number that observers believe was huge at the time, the USAID Mission Director intoned that there is still a need to encourage more to join.
He challenged the newly recruited teachers to demonstrate diligence and shape the lives of young people coming up for a better future.
“You are now in the position to educate and shape the future leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, doctors, and yes—teachers—of Liberia,” he said. “By touching so many young lives, you can open the door… you can change the face…you can change the direction of Liberia.”
He said the United States Government remains a partner to Liberia in developing teacher education, emphasizing that Liberia and the US have a common goal—to ensure that every Liberian child has an opportunity to learn, a chance to be educated.
The graduation of yet another group of qualified teachers is bringing both governments one step closer to achieving that goal.
Earlier, the Director of the ZRTTI, Dr. Advertus O. Wright, called on the Liberian Government to elevate the institution to a full-fledged degree-granting college. He said that if Liberia is to compete internationally, granting “C” certificates is not enough.
In his remarks, Deputy Minister of Education for Administration, Ramses Kumbuyah, challenged the new teachers to aspire to greater heights and to serve as role models for their students.
The Ministry of Education is working with donors and partners to validate the credentials of teachers across the country with the objective of ensuring that all trained teachers have the opportunity to teach.
One hundred and fifty-six graduates were awarded pre-service “C” certificates, qualifying them to teach at the primary school level.
The colorful ceremony was witnessed by hundreds of people.
The graduates, mostly between the ages of 25 to 35, are from Lofa, Bong and Nimba counties. They are the most recent additions to a new cadre of teachers being trained by the Government of Liberia, with support from the USAID, to ensure that qualified teachers are in classrooms across the country.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the USAID Liberia Teacher Training Program is supporting the Rural Teacher Training Institutes in Zorzor, Kakata and Webbo to develop teacher standards, improve curricula, provide teaching and learning resources and, through school-based teacher training, implement Liberia’s national plan to ensure that all children are reading by the end of grade three.