Principal: ‘the students do not want to learn’
Unwholesome behavior of students of the St Lawrence Catholic School in Ganta is said to be raising concerns in public, with many blaming the act on administrative weakness.
The Daily Observer has established that there is no adequate lesson going on in the once prestigious Catholic school as compared to the past, due to the lack of teachers and the failure of the administration to properly supervise the learning process.
“All they are after is school fees, but they don’t care to monitor the learning aspects,” said Martin Mendin, a parent.
“Every time you visit the campus, the kids are outside doing nothing and sometimes the classes are without teachers, leaving the students roaming,” another lady told the Daily Observer.
The St. Lawrence Catholic School has long been one of the leading faith-based schools in Ganta, which has produced a lot of graduates, among them Wokie Dolo, former Miss Liberia.
But in recent times the school has been in the spotlight, due to the expulsion of students for delinquent behavior including the use of narcotic substances.
The Principal, Stephen S. Wamah, denied any lapses in the academic activities of the school, though he admitted that the students are generally not serious about coming to school on time.
“The students do not want to learn,” he said.
According to him, all his teachers are always punctual and it is the students who do not want to sit in class.
He displayed several phones seized from students, which he says are used to distract classroom activities. He blames the parents for giving phones to disrupt academic activities.
Students and parents have always complained about shortage of qualified teachers for courses like Chemistry, Physics and Trigonometry in the school, causing the senior students to abandon classes in frustration. Wamah denied the allegation and said the school has no shortage of teachers as claimed, noting that they have over 500 students with some of the classes overcrowded.
A student, who asked to not be named, told the Daily Observer that a Ghanaian teacher who was teaching trigonometry has left the school and that the chemistry teacher is very irregular.
Principal Wamah admitted the departure of the trigonometry teacher but said a university junior student was brought in as a substitute for that subject.
Lack of supervision is one area affecting many learning institutions in Nimba, especially the private and faith-based schools.
The Catholic school system in Liberia is known for its high reputation in preparing students for better academic performance. Many Students with attractive literacy skills have been noticed to be of Catholic School background, and St. Lawrence has not been an exception to this prestige. However, the situation at St. Lawrence now is leaving parents astonished and wondering about the cause of the school’s decline.
“We do not know what Catholic school is doing with all the money they are collecting from the students. Space for students is limited and there are not enough chairs for the students,” said a parent.
When contacted via mobile, the District Education Officer of Lower Ganta, Abel Legeay, said he is not aware of any overcrowding school as well as the shortage of teachers in any school within his operational areas; however, he assured that he would make a follow up before briefing the press.
In the last Joint Education Sector Review held in Ganta late last year, Minister Ansu Sonii warned all county education officers to be very vigilant in their supervision, ensuring that all schools meet up with all government standards and policies.
The Daily Observer has also established that many teachers in the Ganta School System are moonlighting (teaching from school to school) which makes it very difficult to be effective and committed to a particular school.
“Sometimes, we will sit in class for a whole period without a teacher, and other instances teachers will come late and we will have a little or nothing to do in our subjects in the day,” a female student said.