Admissions Slashed by PSL

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Following all the registration formalities, in just under a week schools across the country will begin lessons to mark the start of the 2016/17 academic year. But some parents have complained that their children have been denied admission at the 24 schools the Ministry of Education (MOE) has assigned to Bridge Academies and other Partnership Schools Liberia (PSL).

A good number of the students, who showed up on Monday, September 5, the first day of school, were reportedly turned away due to “limited’ classroom space. Under PSL procedure, only 25 students are admitted per class.

Reports from the Southeastern region and Montserrado County say the Barclayville Public School and the Upper Careysburg Public School have also reportedly turned away a good number of registered students.

The J.W. Pearson on Carey Street in Monrovia suffered the worst of the process on Monday, as screaming parents were reportedly pushed out of the school fence, a situation which nearly went out of control until a unit of the Liberia National Police was called in to restore calm.

Admissions at kindergarten and nursery schools were cut and parents were told to find another school, this newspaper has gathered. At this eleventh hour, parents of these declined students have to find alternative public schools, many of which have also by now reached their class size ceiling of 45 students.

PSL in other areas have experienced similar admission cuts, leaving many upset parents scrambling to find alternative schools for their children. They include In Touch Public School, David Fagu and G. Dongo School, Bong County; Weakayma and Julijuah, Bomi County; Martha

Tubman, Salala; and Sinta School between Kakata and Bong County.

However, MOE authorities say in keeping with its MOU with PSL, pupils at those selected pilot schools will choose – at the parents’ sole discretion – whether to continue at the pilot schools or transfer to other public schools.

MOE added that no current pupils will be denied, but will have to rather choose to attend other schools around the neighborhood where they have the option to apply.

The pilot project will accordingly affect 50 schools and approximately 20,000 children where PSL will also share its lessons learned on management, curriculum, materials used, and learning practices with the MOE.

In a related development, after carefully evaluating and analyzing the education sector performance updates, Cabinet on Tuesday mandated a “realistic implementation of actionable targets” as the nation transitions to improve the quality of learning in the system.

Cabinet received updates on various sectoral reforms in the education systems including the elimination of ghosts’ names on the payroll in collaboration with Civil Service Agency (CSA); identifying unqualified teachers, hiring and training of trainable teachers through the Rural
Teacher Training Institutions, an Executive Mansion release reported.

Cabinet was also briefed on the status of the PSL that would allow the MOE in concert with private operators to target 185 schools in 13 of the 15 counties. Of the 185 schools, 92 were randomly chosen as PSL schools, while 93 will become the comparison group.

The partnership would enable the following eight private operators to run, manage and operate selected schools. They include BRAC – 20; Bridge – 24; Liberian Youth Network, LIYONET – 4; More than Me – 6; Omega – 19; Rising – 5; Stella Maris – 4 schools; and Street Child – 12 schools.

Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved the scope of operation and concept of a series of Community Engagement Forums that will bring government closer to the population through broad-based interactions. The Forum, according to the Cabinet, will serve as a vehicle that will practically allow ordinary citizens, social and community leaders and civil society organizations to come face-to-face with their leaders through dialogue and in a user-friendly manner in order to appreciate progress, achievements, challenges and the way forward.

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