Adolphus Jacobs, Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), believes it is necessary to reschedule the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) if the students are not ready to write the standardized test, come August.
Mr. Jacobs said the government must schedule the exam for when the students’ conditions are improved academically.
Speaking in an interactive education forum organized by Lead facilitator Mr. George Wah William, a US-based Liberian, Mr. Jacobs said like Sierra Leone, Liberia can also cancel WASSCE until the students are ready in order to avoid massive failure.
He said his administration at the MCSS will not fit in the shoes of past leaders, but he will do his best with the little resources that are available.
Mr. Jacobs named the lack of training, inability to pay instructors on time and assignment of teachers to various learning institutions as some of the major challenges faced by MCSS. He disclosed that all the challenges are due to the lack of finance.
Mr. Jacobs said the system is struggling because the government is the only source of funding, adding that “all monies that come from the international community go to the Ministry of Education and said money needs to be divided among other institutions. For the past two years now, we have not received anything from the international community to support education.”
Veto Garway, president of the MCSS Teacher Association, said for the past three years his administration has been working with instructors to improve academic excellence but they are heavily challenged, ranging from teachers who live very far distances from their workplaces, as well as payment and other supports for the teaching staff.
Garway said given the fact that teachers have not been able to receive training under the Weah administration, the students also lack text books and electricity to enable students to study their lessons.
He said the input to education in the budget is very low, adding that even though MCSS has reopened schools, there is no hand-washing station for students, or nose masks given to students to use on campuses.
Mr. Garway said the association has engaged the legislature to increase the education budget, but they were told that because of the many issues to address, education cannot take the lead.
When asked by the lead facilitator of the forum why they are resisting the testing system introduced for teachers at MOE, Garway said “we are not against anything that will make the education system productive but we are asking them to test teachers in their various categories.”
In response, Supt. Jacobs said, “it is difficult to assign teachers near their homes because most of them are renters that move from one community to another and, at times, those institutions that are nearer in their new communities already have teachers in those subjects they are teaching.”
Jacobs said while it is true that there is not much money for education in the national budget, even those corporations that are operating in those communities where the schools are located need to help in supporting education but sadly, only a few of them are committed to doing so.
Mason Saweler, head of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), said it is saddening to have the leaders of the country only supporting politics and forget about educating the youthful generation.
He said politicians send students to those public schools on their authorities to gain political ground but refused to improve those same systems they are using.