Budget Cut Still Hampers Reopening of MVTC

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The Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Dr. Nancy Freeman, and the Assistant Minister for Technical Vocational Education Training, Boakai Jaleba, have said the continuous setbacks to the resumption of classes at the country’s largest vocational school, the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC), is due to the lack of adequate budgetary support.

Dr. Freeman said the US$70 million cut in the 2015/2016 budget resulted in the allotment of only US$97,000 to the MVTC. That amount, she said, cannot operate the school.

Since November 2015, MVTC, with over 800 youths from across the country, has been shut down owing to three reasons, including the renovation of the school, the capacity building of some instructors in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the lack of funding.

The two ministers made the announcement to the administration, faculty and support staff at the MVTC campus yesterday during an acquaintance meeting.

Dr. Freeman said despite the inadequate support to the MVTC, the ministry is trying to reopen and run the school for four months, to allow hundreds of students to receive life skills training.

Although she did not announce when the MVTC will reopen, unconfirmed reports say the school will open either at the end of June or early July.

“We are trying to reopen the MVTC so I would urge teachers to come on time and teach with passion,” admonished Dr. Freeman.

For his part, Assistant Minister Jaleba announced that the government is considering privatizing MVTC, but that the European Union, UNESCO and the African Development Bank have expressed interest in supporting technical and vocational training across the country.

Min. Jaleba said hopefully the funding will be ready between September and October 2016.

Meanwhile, contractors assigned at the MVTC reminded the Ministry of their three months arrears. In response, the Ministry said it would shortly pay the workers a month’s wages.

Also, the faculty staff appealed to the Ministry to employ the rest of them, since only nine of the over 60 staffers are on government payroll. They also requested the recruitment of placement officers to help students get employment following their training.

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