One of Liberia’s foremost adult literacy entities, Alfalit-Liberia and the Ministry of Education (MOE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at promoting adult literacy in the country.
Speaking at the signing ceremony Tuesday, May 27, at MOE’s Computer Training Center, Education Minister Etmonia David Tarpeh called for the translation of the signed document into a practical context that would enhance the learning process of adults in the country.
Minister Tarpeh also stressed the hope that the MOE’s collaboration with Alfalit-International Liberia will build a vibrant educational system at the grass-roots level for the nation’s adult population.
The Education Minister wishes that her relationship with Alfalit-Liberia will also promote and enhance productivity in the educational system of the country.
“No one person at the MOE would be able to do all the adult literacy work in this country. It should be the collective responsibility of all Liberians, irrespective of background,” Minister Tarpeh declared.
She further admitted that many adult literacy organizations have tried in many ways, but perhaps their initiatives were not highly successful owing to the condition in the country at that time.
She urged adult literacy entities operating in the country to train adult learners also in some basic negotiation skills that further empower them not only in reading and writing, but in carrying out successful business activities.
The Ministry of Education head also underscored the need for the teaching of local languages in the adult education sector as an alternative for the better understanding of the subject matter.
She also urged adult literacy groups in the country to include in their training manuals the training of marketable skills to the adult literacy learners.
Minister Tarpeh in closing congratulated Alfalit-Liberia’s staff for their commitment, resilience and determination over years in training adult Liberians in literacy.
In a special statement, the chairman of Alfalit-Liberia’s Board of Directors, Kenneth Y. Best, gave the overview of the adult literacy entity since it was established in Liberia in 2006.
Chairman Best explained that Alfalit-Liberia has trained about 55,000 adult literacy learners in Liberia and adult literacy centers have been established in all 15 counties of Liberia.
Mr. Best, who is also Publisher and Managing Director of the Daily Observer newspaper, recalled chat he once had with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, that the nation could achieve functional literacy in five years. However, he maintained that in order to accomplish this goal, “All stakeholders have to be on board.” These include the Liberian government, especially the Ministry of Education, all schools and educational institutions around the country, civil society organizations and the development partners.
Mr. Best thanked Education Minister Tarpeh and her staff for accepting Alfalit-Liberia as a solid partner with the MOE in promoting adult literacy.
Chairman Best also narrated a passionate success story of Alfalit-Liberia’s education initiative that transformed the life of a market woman into a productive adult literacy reader and writer.
For her part, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Education Team Leader, Dr. Julia B. Richards, acknowledged the huge challenges of the MOE in meeting many with its demands in the country.
She pointed out that no skill would serve better than empowering adult literacy learners with the knowledge to read and write good English.
Dr. Richards also commended Alfalit-Liberia for its determination in enhancing the adult literacy program in the country.
She underscored the need for civil society organizations and other major stakeholders in education to work together as a united team to promote adult literacy.
Earlier, the Policy Advisor to Minister Tarpeh, Dr. Albert Coleman, welcomed the Alfalit-Liberia’s officials and staff to the signing ceremony and hoped that both parties would live up to the terms and conditions of the MOU.
In brief remarks, the Executive Director of Alfalit-Liberia, Rev. Emmanuel J. Giddings said the signing of the MOU with the MOE marks a significant breakthrough in the nation’s adult literacy program.
The MOE and Alfalit-Liberia’s MOU signing was also attended by one of the board members, Mrs. Helen Roberts Evans, who also works at the Ministry of Education.