President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday joined officials of the Ministry of Education for further consultations with education stakeholders in view of the need for urgent reform and attempts to resolve the current impasse and bring improvement to the sector.
“Change is always difficult and resisted, but necessary to achieve reforms,” President Sirleaf told the stakeholders.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the comment at the Monrovia City Hall yesterday during ongoing consultations with education stakeholders on “Improving Schooling after Ebola.”
On hand were Education Minister, George Werner; Deputy Education Minister for Instruction, Dr. Romell Horton and the Chairman on Higher Education, Dr. Michael Slaweon.
Considering the need for urgent reform of the education system, she thought it prudent to join officials of the Ministry of Education to hold more consultations, hear concerns and solicit their inputs about the system, said the President.
She was there to make suggestions particularly on how all stakeholders, including students and teachers working in concert with the Government, can bring about some improvement and sanity to the sector, the President added.
She urged stakeholders to continue with consultations at all levels – students, teachers, parent-teacher associations, among others, in anticipation of further consultations with Government to find a way to remedy the situation.
President Sirleaf noted that even though the quality change the Ministry of Education, its partners, and stakeholders are pursuing will not come immediately, when it does come, it should be of the quality that will place Liberian students on par with others around the world.
She thanked the stakeholders for participating and encouraged fruitful discussions that will bring meaningful and positive solutions to the sector. The President gave the assurance that government stands ready at all times to provide more support as she has always done for the education sector.
Education Minister George Werner appealed to the stakeholders to work with the Government and the Ministry of Education to ensure that no child is left behind in Liberia.
In their comments and interventions, the stakeholders raised various concerns about measures recently announced by the MOE and made suggestions on how to better the sector and ensure that all of the reforms required and deemed necessary are made without conflict and reversals of the gains already made in the sector.
Participants in the meeting with education stakeholders were the representatives of private schools, Catholic Education Secretariat, representatives of civil society; Montserrado County student representative, Mohammed Donzo; students, County and District Education Officers; the USAID representative, Jacob Roosevelt and Representatives of School Boards, among others.
Meanwhile, the President expressed serious dissatisfaction regarding the way private schools are established, especially without meeting the necessary criteria set by the Ministry of Education. She was likewise unhappy with the way subsidies are provided to schools. She declared, “We need to be more vigilant.”