The newly inducted Minister of Education, George K. Werner, has said that the Liberian school system remains under attack by poverty, theft, and armed conflicts.
He said if the system is to be revamped and reformed those vices that impede it from attaining quality must be removed to liberate the system and make Liberia an educated society.
According to Minister Werner, since the 70s, the Liberian school system has been at a standstill.
He, however, expressed confidence that his administration will begin consultations with stakeholders, including students, teachers, District Education Officers and Superintendents in the various school systems to address some of the problems.
Poverty, theft and conflict have caused serious destruction to the school system by bringing the country to the point where it is now struggling to recover, according to Werner.
Mr. Werner made the observation yesterday when he and his newly appointed corps of officials took over from outgoing Minister Etmonia David Tarpeh.
Minister Werner explained that with the current academic calendar that runs into the rainy season, it would be difficult for students to perform efficiently at public tests, including the annual exams administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
“We need to begin making decisions that will create the necessary learning environment, including students in the rural areas as some of them could not attend classes during the rainy season because they have to cross over terrible bridges and flooded areas,” he said.
He said if Liberia is to graduate from the downward educational trend to achieve the best, his administration will have to take some drastic decisions that would make some staff happy and some angry.
Those pending decisions, he said would in the long run, be in the interest of the state.
“We need coordination in order to address some of these problems facing the education sector and not just money. We have a school calendar that put students in school during the peak of the rainy season and they are expected to duly perform. Liberians need to tell the ministry what their priorities are and what we can also handle,” he said.
Also speaking, the Senate chair on Education, Senator Jewel H. Taylor, expressed her commitment to support the new education minister and his team in making the system better.
Senator Taylor applauded the level of work achieved by outgoing minister Tarpeh, especially for the foundation that allowed Minister Werner to begin his work.
“The work at the ministry is very difficult and serious because you are dealing with the entire nation. We can build all the best roads, houses and others but if we don’t have the enlightened generation, population or educated society, it will be a serious problem for us,” she warned.
Earlier exiting minister Tarpeh admitted to challenges at the Ministry of Education but was confident that Minister Werner and his team would work harder to ensure that Liberia has a better education system.