Education Minister Faces House Tuesday

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The House of Representatives’ Education Committee has described Education Minister George Werner as ‘disrespectful’ and had accused him of always failing to honor the Committee’s invitations.

Sinoe County District # 3 Representative Matthew Zarzar, who is also the Chairman on the House Education Committee, said the Minister has constantly, deliberately and disappointedly refused to cooperate with them when probing educational issues, which immensely affected their work.

Following the harsh accusation from the House’s Education Committee Chairman, and the resolution from the Italian Scholarship Beneficiaries Parents Association (ISBPA), the House has summoned Minister Werner to appear before Plenary on Tuesday, April 19 in their Chambers at about 11 a.m.

The Education Minister is expected to explain to the 73 lawmakers issues surrounding students on the Italian Government Scholarship, provide information on the new educational reform known as Private Public Partnership (PPP), and why he has been ‘disrespectful’ to the House’s Education Committee.

According to the resolution of the ISBPA, of which a copy is in possession of the Daily Observer, the parents narrated that the Liberian government in collaboration with the government of Italy announced through the Ministry of Education the availability of scholarships for students in grades 8 and 9 and ages ranging from 14 to 18 years.

The parents said out of the 64 students who sat for the tests, 27 passed successfully in 2014, while the then Minister of Education, Etmonia David Tarpeh, in the same year wrote the then Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan to considerably request for a Note Verbale, which he immediately did to the Italian Embassy in Cote d’Ivoire.

“Upon this communication to the Italian Embassy, the children were taken to Cote d’Ivoire for said requested visa issuance on February 26, 2016 and subsequently returned on March 6, 2015 after the completion of the visa process.

“Henceforth, the parents were cited at the Ministry of Education Conference Hall and informed that their children would have left Liberia for Italy by March 14, 2015 especially after they would have been presented to the President of Liberia, who initiated the scholarships. It is interesting to note that, as of the said timing and now, nothing has been revealed as to what has happened to the entire process,” the parents expressed their frustration through the resolution.

They concluded: “The Minister of Education should immediately reverse his decision to allow the traveling of these children to further their studies in Italy. The Ministry of Education should begin the arrangement for the children to leave Liberia for Italy not than May 2016.”

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