A group of civil society organizations (CSOs), educational practitioners, parents, students and all concerned Liberians, under the umbrella of the Consortium of Education Defenders of Liberia (COEDEL), has called on the government through the Ministry of Education (MOE) to immediately disengage from any arrangement intended to outsource public schools to the Bridge International Academies (BIA) or any other party of the same nature.
COEDEL considers the move as a ‘National Emergency’ and must be given attention as a matter of urgency, adding: “If this government is permitted to outsource the entire primary school system and even that of the Jr. High Division, Liberia will enter the records of notoriety once again.”
“Liberia will suffer another shameful international scandal and we believe that the government is negating or shying away from her core responsibility; and the outsourcing of more than 250 public schools to private providers is a form of government shying away from accountability to its citizens on the provision of education,” the group stated in a resolution released on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at the headquarters of the National Teachers’ Association of Liberia (NTAL).
COEDEL said the intent of taking over all public schools is for profit-making; to create job insecurity for teachers, Education Officers (EOs) and all the educational employees in Liberia, noting that the BIA program does not also cover insurance for teachers and educational workers as enshrined in the Education Reform Act of 2011, referencing Article 6.3.
The group’s spokesman, James Miller, who read the resolution, said among many things that as civil society organizations, education partners and concerned Liberians, they would do all to resist the “creeping monster” in the educational sector.
He stated that the intent of this creeping monster is to destroy the agenda of quality public education in the country, irrespective of status and conditions, noting, “COEDEL will reject any threat and menace that may not only affect the country’s fragile education system but also affect teachers, civil servants, students, parents and the image of the country in the compliance of international conventions and protocols.”
COEDEL described this as a form of discrimination, which is counterproductive to the UN SDG #4, Universal Declaration of Human Rights as enshrined in Article 26 and the African Chapter of Humans and People’s Rights as enshrined in Article 17.
James then stressed that COEDEL sees it as disregarding the efforts of educational and public school’s administrators, while by-passing the real issues confronting the education sector of Liberia (education financing), pointing out that they see it as a form of discouraging professional development while encouraging the recruitment of less competent individuals in the classroom.