— Wants Partners of Transparency and Accountability
In an effort to overhaul and improve the education sector, Acting Education Minister Latim Dathong said the Ministry is in desperate need of US$3 million to employ 3,500 teachers and also US$1 million to honorably retire (redundant) at least 1,700 who have spent over 25 years and reached the ages of 65 years in the classrooms.
Min. Dathong told members of the House of Representatives on Thursday, June 13, the 38th day sitting, that the recruitment of qualified teachers and also to pay teachers have been and remain the major challenges of the country over the years.
The Acting Education Minister said the government had targeted the employ of at 17,000 teachers for the 2,600 public schools throughout the country but, up to present, only 12,000 are on government payroll.
Min. Dathong argued that at least 5,000 teachers are needed, some of which are volunteering. He mentioned that the Ministry has discovered that 1,500 out of the 5,000 volunteer teachers are ghosts.
He pointed out that the honorable retirement programs for the 1,700 teachers are planned but the US$1 million is for the packages.
“The Ministry of Education is operating a budget of US$42 million, but we need additional US$4 million totaling to US$46 million to employ 3,500 teachers and retire 1,700 teachers.”
“We want to call on the House of Representatives to increase our budget to improve the educational sector,” Min. Dathong said.
The Acting Education Minister said the 2011 Educational Act authorized the Ministry to outsource partners, and they are taking care of 200 schools.
He said the highest educational partner, Bridge International Academies three-year contract will end this year and the Legislature’s input will be sought.
He indicated that the partnerships are only intended for partners to help to strategize to improve the performances of Liberian students of which have been over the years.
The Acting Minister, during his appearance in the House’s chamber on Thursday, also called on partners of the Liberia Education Advancement Program (LEAP) Program to be transparent and accounted for all monies raised on behalf of the country.
Some of the partners, which also appeared before the House of Representatives, include Bridge International Academies, Omega Academy, Rising Academies and the Youth Movement for Collective Action.
The Regional Director for Bridge International, Marcus Wleh, said the academic is taking over 20,000 students and are giving $25 as stipends to teachers who are not on government payroll.
Madam Margaretta Smith of the More Than Me Academy said her school is catering to over 63 students and survivors and are paying teachers $40 as stipends.
Rising Academy Liberia Manager James Bradley says they are supervising 29 schools. He said teachers are L$12,450 for the first threw months and, afterwards, are paid monthly stipends, L$6,225.
Mr. Abraham Karnley of Omega Academy says they taking care of 17 schools and also paying teachers $25 stipends who are not on government payrolls as wells Uriah Brooks of Youth Action, who is taking care of 1,500 students.