The Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated Schools System (MCSS) Benjamin Jacobs has called for the government to shut down all public and private schools which do not have laboratories and libraries. He said this is necessary in order to tackle the country’s messy education and improve huge gaps in the instructions. Moreover Mr. Jacobs said laboratories and libraries help to develop and modernize the education system so that students have access to practical work besides theory.
The MCSS Superintendent made the remarks last week during a panel discussion under the theme “Engaging Citizens on National Budget for Accountable Development.” It was held in the rotunda of the Capitol Building and was moderated by John Kollie.
It is part of the USAID funded five-year Liberia Media Development (LMD) program, also known as the USAID LMD Liberia Media Budget Monitoring for Accountability (LMBMA). The Internews is implementing the LMD programs, in partnership with the Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives (LMDI).
The MCSS boss’ statement stemmed from what is widely expected to be negative results for students who wrote the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) certificate.
But the MCSS boss’ proposal has however come under fire from several quarters including students who have expressed disagreement with the MCSS boss arguing that such a step will entail the shutting down of most schools in the country simply because they lack laboratories and libraries.
Says 11th grade J.J.Roberts High School student Vanessa Karn: “If we go by what Mr. Jacobs is saying, then it means there will be few schools in the country because most of the schools do not have laboratories and libraries” she stressed adding, “the best suggestion should be the government must design a plan to ensure all schools to have laboratories and libraries.”
Adding his voice to the debate, 10th grade student Thomas P. David of the Booker Washington Harris High School said, it would be better if the government, the World Bank or any private institution help schools to have laboratories and libraries than to close schools. “If we are serious, we can get laboratories or libraries than to shut schools down.”
Meanwhile, the MCSS boss and the remaining panelists during the dialogue urged the government to allocate at least 20% of the 2018/2019 budget to education.
The panelists included Sen. Dallas Gueh, the Senate chairman on education; Rep. Johnson Gwaikolo, the House’s chairman on education and Mr. Samuel Johnson, the secretary general of the National Teachers Association of Liberia.
Others included Mr. Urias Brooks of the You Movement for Collective Action and Mr. Anders Miamen, the executive director for the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL).
They argued that the 2000 Dakar Framework for Education compels countries to allocate at least 20% of their annual budget as a collective commitment to achieving education for ‘every citizen in every society’ to be literate.
For his part, the head of Internews Liberia, Mr. Tawedzegwa Musitini said they hoped citizens’ perspectives on how national and local budgets impact their lives will really be covered in the budgets.