President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has backed the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) decision to administer a standardized test for public school teachers on their qualifications and abilities, and has warned that teachers who refused to take the test may lose their job.
Speaking yesterday in Marshall, Margibi County, at the Kpakparkon Public School, President Sirleaf, told the school’s Vice Principal for Administration, Meshes Goah, after he admitted he had not taken the test that “Teachers that will not take the test will be out of job.”
She said that public school teachers who trust themselves should take the test and prove that they are qualified to teach.
President Sirleaf said teachers who make a pass will be better placed to have all of the benefits that come with the exercise.
“If you trust yourself you should take the test and prove that you are qualified,” she said.
Among his measures to reform the education system, Education Minister George Werner wants all teachers in the country to take test, which would enable MOE to know their qualifications.
The MOE test and the ministry’s plan to outsource the country’s educational system through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative are two unpopular reform policies that have been initiated by Minister Werner.
The MOE test, since its pronouncement, has sparked confusion between teachers and the ministry, with teachers threatening to institute a nationwide strike action should the MOE continue with the exercise.
Under the banner of the National Teachers’ Association of Liberia (NTAL), the teachers have meanwhile called on the government to stop the MOE from administering the test, and also put a halt to the implementation of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) activities until parties concerned can hold a nationwide consultative meeting.
“The NTAL representatives to the National Executive Council are opposed to the administering of tests to teachers and education workers, as we know that the test is a part of the process of the PPP scheme,” the teachers said in a statement early this week.
Amid the MOE’s test saga, the president of the NTAL, Rev. Ellen G. Varfley, has been impeached by members of the National Representative Council (NRC), a subsidiary of the NTAL. This action, which many have termed as politically driven, took place on Monday, April 11.
Members of the council have, however, mandated Rev. Varfley to turn over all NTAL properties in her possession to the secretariat through the office of the secretary-general.
Rev. Varfley, however, reacted swiftly, telling the Daily Observer in a mobile phone interview that she remains NTAL’s legitimate president, adding, “So, nothing is going to worry me, because we have a constitution that governs the association.”
In a related development, the Kparkparkon Public School, an elementary school, was last Sunday burglarized by some unknown persons who took away several instructional materials, including books, and chalks. The panel doors to all of the classrooms were also taken away by the burglars.
VP Goah is, meanwhile, appealing to the public to help the school as the administration and the kids have been left frustrated by this unwarranted act.
President Sirleaf yesterday toured several road projects currently ongoing in Margibi and Montserrado Counties. Some of the projects included the A. B. Tolbert Road, the extension of the pavement of the Marshall Road, Police Academy Road and the Somalia Drive project.