The Ministry of Education (MoE) has received an initial batch of 14 certified Nigerian Technical Assistance Corps (TAC) Volunteer Teachers to teach at secondary schools in five of Liberia’s 15 counties.
According to the Ministry, the arrival of these teachers is in fulfillment of President George Weah’s promise made a few years ago of improving the country’s educational sector as one of the key priorities under the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Welcoming these volunteer teachers on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, were key education stakeholders, top government officials and the local media at the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
Speaking at the program, Education Minister Professor D. Ansu Sonii disclosed that the plea with the Nigerian government to have those volunteer teachers in Liberia was initiated by President Weah, adding that a total of 42 of the TAC classroom teachers are poised to be in the country.
Minister Sonii told the gathering that the 14 teachers will be divided and deployed in five of the 15 counties to include: Lofa (3 teachers), Nimba (3), Bomi (1), Grand Bassa (2) and Grand Cape Mount (5).
Minister Sonii added that by the end of September, the second batch of the volunteer teachers will join the first group, followed by the final batch at a later date to complete the total number to 42 volunteer teachers across the Liberia.
“Regardless of the time the initiative is taking effect, whether close or far from the holding of the October 10, 2023 presidential and legislative elections, it is a milestone achievement under my watch as the Minister and the Liberian government headed by President George Weah. This demonstrates his commitment to improving the education sector of this country,” Prof. Sonii stressed.
The Education Minister also indicated that the presence of the volunteer teachers in the country is as a result of a bilateral agreement reached between Nigerian and Liberian Presidents, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President George Manneh Weah.
In 2018, President Weah called on his Nigerian counterpart to provide approximately 6,000 teachers to Liberia as part of the Technical Assistance agreement between the two nations. Following a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Presidential Villa in Abuja, Weah said his government inherited many problems which can only be tackled with assistance from countries like Nigeria.
At the same time the Liberian leader identified some of the urgent problems facing his country such as youth unemployment, as well as the need to revive the education, agriculture, mining and health sectors.
According to Minister Sonii, the Nigerian government has already provided those teachers their compensations for the time of their stay, while the Liberian government only accommodates and provides other basic social services through the respective County Education Officers.
He said the County Education Officers have already provided furnished residential areas and other services for the TAC volunteer teachers.
“The credit is given to the both presidents of the two countries and, irrespective of the timing of these teachers coming, it is an achievement that a request made by the President several years ago is coming to fruition,” he added.
He howevver, clarified that no teacher in Liberia should worry about jobs being taken away from them by the TAC volunteer teachers. He stressed that President Weah is just responding to mitigate some of the key challenges confronting the sector and, as such, no Liberian teacher’s job will be tampered with by the presence of these foreign teachers.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Nigerian Technical Assistance Corps Volunteer Teachers, Adeleke Roland Sunkanmi, assured the Liberian government through the Ministry of their full commitment and pledge to maintain a high level of professionalism.
He promised that his team is determined to work very hard, partner with the key stakeholders to promote quality education for the Liberian students, noting that they have not only come to teach but to also learn the traditions, cultures of Liberia and the education system.
“We are going to be goodwill ambassadors and this opportunity is a privilege provided to us by the government of Liberia,” the TAC Volunteer Teachers’ representative concluded.
The volunteers are mentally fit to work as teachers, based on the standard laid down by the DTAC during the selection process and guideline governing deployment of those teachers under Nigeria’s Technical Aid Corps Scheme.
The 14 TAC Volunteer Teachers are: Okunlola Israel Ojuotimi, Adeleke Roland Sunkanmi, Ojo Temitope Jhonbul, Suleiman Isaik, Mohammed Kawu Umar, Onyekwere Benedicta Obiama, Olowodalu Olaleye-Francis, Omidiora Josiah Fuminiyi, Bagu Amos Dalyop, Oloruntobi Abiodun Mary, Ugwu Ejike Samuel, Tonjes Dachung Dagwo, Ogunmiloye Abiodun Oluwafifunmi, and Aliyu Jamiu Muhammed.