Former Assistant Minister of Teacher Education at the Ministry of Education has disagreed with the long-held view of the government that the country’s education system is a mess.
Moses Blonkanjay Jackson, a veteran educator, said that the statement that the country’s education is a mess, attributed to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, lacked real fact, and was meant to shame students and their teachers.
Mr. Jackson spoke at program marking this year’s World Teachers’ Day held at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship under the theme, “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers.”
He added that when something becomes a mess, it means it is dirty or in a condition that is disorganized, “but this is not the case with Liberia’s education system.”
“I beg to differ that the country’s education system is a mess. This assertion made by President Sirleaf was not based on research. I admit, there are huge gaps in our pedagogy but that doesn’t make the system to be a mess,” Jackson said.
He said ‘the whole thing about the mess’ started by blaming teachers that they are not imparting the best of knowledge to the students .
For that, Mr. Jackson urged the teachers to remain strong and resolute, and not to mind those ‘hypocrites and ingrates’ with their empty talks about teachers not being qualified.
“Those making such a claim have no clue about a single challenge that comes with standing before a group of pupils for at least 45 minutes, keeping focused and engaged to transform content into knowledge,” Mr. Jackson said.
He, meanwhile, frowned on those who badmouth teachers, describing them as “ungrateful hypocrites, because it is the very teaching profession, which they have chosen to berate today, that taught them the fundamentals of education with which they became government officials and prominent citizens.”
“In Liberia, the oppression that teachers are exposed to is very similar to slavery conditions. This has not been the case only under the President Sirleaf led government, but under previous administrations.
“And each time teachers ventured to raise their voices, they are advised to return to the classrooms as if they are slaves with shackles placed around the ankles and waists, or puppies on a leash tied up in the classrooms with roll books and red ink pens,” Jackson said.
He said that decisions are often taken on behalf of the teachers without making any reference to them, a situation that made them like slaves.
Mary Mulbah Nyumah, National Teachers’ Association acting president, called on the government to honor its obligation to value and improve the status of teachers and education workers instead of outsourcing the sector to foreign-owned companies.