A not- for profit organization, ‘Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania’, based in the United States of America, through the Ministry of Education (MOE) has handed over more than 400 desks and armchairs to several public schools in Kakata, Margibi County.
This follows the conduct of a feasibility study by the organization in the rural parts of Liberia, especially in Montserrado and Margibi counties, where they saw that there were many of schools in dire need of help.
The handover ceremony took place on April 6, 2021, in several locations in Kakata City, Margibi County; it brought together Margibi education authorities, teachers, and parents as well as students.
Speaking during the occasion, the Chairman of the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania, Josiah Yaidoo, disclosed that having worked in close consultation with the MOE regarding an urgent need for some public schools, the organization decided to turn over the materials to schools that were already identified during their feasibility.
Mr. Yaidoo named the Wenneh Ta Public School, Richard Ta Public School, the Weala Public School, the Lango Lipaye High School, R. S. Caulfield in Farmington District, Harbel Multilateral High School, and the Frank E. Tolbert Public School in rural Montserrado.
“We have come to make a donation of about 400 desks and 100 armchairs for the use of these public schools,” he said. He noted that the organization’s mission is to identify needs in the communities in order to solve some of these problems, if not all.
He clarified that the cost of the donation is US$15,000, adding that administrative cost could put it at about US$25,000.
Mr. Yaidoo also clarified that the kind gesture is the institution’s own way of giving back to the Liberian people.
He also disclosed that plans are underway to launch a scholarship program that will directly benefit students on the basis of merit and not on the basis of who knows you. “We are contemplating on it because it was brought about in one of our meetings and therefore we want to set an example in whatever we do.”
He claimed that Liberia is known for ‘people not doing things that they suppose to do when they are in position, they don’t want to open a scholarship program.
Mr. Yaidoo, in a brief conversation with reporters, said if Liberia’s education system must be better than what it is today, the government through the MOE, should focus on training and building the capacity of teachers in the education sector.
Liberia, he said, is a post-war nation where some teachers in the classrooms are not adequately trained. “You cannot have teachers who are not trained to produce top-quality students that will compete with other students in the sub-region and other parts of the world.”
Meanwhile, Mary Flomo 16, a grade 3 student at the Wenneh Ta Public School, was excited when she told the Daily Observer that over the last two years many of them sat on the floor to do class activities as well as write their exams.
Student Mary Flomo, whose ambition is to become a doctor, said with the availability of these desks and armchairs, they are relieved. She said her dream can only be achieved if the learning condition is conducive.
According to her, due to low seating capacity, some of them have to come to class as early as they can in order to obtain a chair. This, she said, has led to many of her friend to leave school.
Mary’s sister, Linda Flomo, 17, described the learning condition in the school as another way of denying girls the right to education. She noted that prior to the donation, one of her classmates informed her that she would have stopped school due to the shortage of chairs and other facilities that could make learning much more easy for them.
Margibi County Education Officer (CEO) Stephen H. Toe Jr, lauded the organization for the donation and challenged other institutions to follow the good example of the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania. Mr. Toe however acknowledged the huge challenges in the county’s school system, which he said needs collective efforts to address. He said the issue of students seating capacity is essential to the smooth learning process of the children.
He also stressed the importance of identifying the needs of students in the rural part of the country. According to him, students in the rural areas are eager to learn, but the issue of seating capacity is one of the problems.