Liberia’s Education System May Collapse If . . .

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The Liberian school system is at the point of collapse Education Minister George Werner has warned advising an urgent revamp of the entire structure.

During a daylong meeting with County (CEOs) and District Education Officers (DEOs) held in Gbarnga, Bong County on Friday, Mr. Werner said he was disappointed at what he saw at the various schools he had visited in the interior and elsewhere. He said quick action is needed to rescue the country’s education system from what he described as the “deplorable conditions” in which the schools operate.

“President Sirleaf had described our education system as a mess, but it is now at the verge of collapse, with many schools in the southeast lacking science and math teachers.

“Despite such drawbacks, we continue to believe that the students can make the exams this year. Our 9th and 12th graders don’t have science and math teachers or even textbooks and they believe that they will play magic to score a mark.”

Many of the school children are sitting on the ground this rainy season, Werner lamented adding “we cannot have children using the bush or leaving for home to use the restroom during school hours.”

He noted that many of the instructional materials, particularly textbooks, as well as school facilities and qualified teachers are lacking in the various schools.

“Some of the children are not going to school due to the rainy season and some are going without shoes. The quality of education obtained in the ‘70s and ‘80s no longer exist but we can bring it back for the children,” he assured education officials.

If many of the deplorable public and private institutions in the rural areas had been observed by parents and lawmakers, they would have called for the closure of schools for more than a year.

“We see many makeshift structures here and schools are also overcrowded. Pleebo High is leaking all over and students go home just to use the bathroom. We need to see how to renovate those schools, bring in textbooks and train teachers as the way to address some of these challenges,” he demanded.

The issues of training teachers, distributing textbooks and having the proper school facilities for the students are cardinal “as we embark on revamping the school system from ‘a mess’ to the best,” said Minister Werner.

“We cannot have the best school system in Liberia without putting into place those things. The listening tour in the Southeast was discouraging, but we can all work together as one people and change it. Some tough decisions must be taken if the system must be changed,” he warned.

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