— Observes World Teachers Day
The President of the National Teachers’ Association of Liberia (NTAL) has appealed to the Government of Liberia to discontinue the ongoing retirement of teachers across the county.
The government’s move according to the NTAL President, Mary Nyumah, is untimely and unhealthy for their members especially so when the country’s economic situation has not yet improved.
Mrs. Nyumah at an event commemorating World Teachers Day on October 5, 2020, called on the government to notify teachers who are about to be retired one year in advance to prepared for life after teaching instead of abrupt retirement which she said poses difficulties on the retirees.
The NTAL president, however, used the occasion to express deepest thanks and appreciation to President George M. Weah for honoring their proposal to provide US$1 million to compensate their colleagues in the private school system who have not received salaries since the COVID-19 pandemic.
She urged administrators of private schools to be transparent and honest to submit names of teachers who have been sacrificing over the years.
At the same time, Mrs. Nyumah also used the occasion to honor at least nine long serving and deserving teachers.
Stevenson Seidi, Officer-In-Charge of UNESCO Liberia, who read the special statement on behalf of NTAL partners, including the International Labor Organization, UNICEF and Education International, said because of COVID-19, nearly 1.6 billion learners, more than 90% of the world’s total enrolled student population has been affected by the shutdown of schools.
Mr. Seidi said the COVID-19 crisis has also affected over 63 million teachers, highlighting persistent weaknesses in many education systems and exacerbated inequalities with devastating consequences for the most marginalized.
“We now need to think beyond COVID-19 and work to build greater resilience in our education systems so that we can respond quickly and effectively to these and other such crises. This means protecting education financing, investing in high-quality initial teacher education, as well as continuing the professional development of the existing teacher workforce,” he noted.
In his keynote address, the County Education Officer of Montserrado County School System, Samuel Bondo, reiterated the impact of COVID-19 on Liberia’s education system.
According to him, there are 262 million children and youth out of school with 64 million primary school-age children sitting home; 61 million junior high school students and 138 million secondary school-age children are not in school as a result of the closure of the school due to the COVID-19 in 188 countries around the world.
Mr. Bondo indicated that COVID-19 pandemic has pillaged the already deteriorating education system; over 90% of lower primary students have had no access to formal face-to-face learning since March 2020.
He told the NTAL members that the task ahead of them is to re-kindle the mind of these children is cumbersome (unwieldy) bringing them to their normal learning place before moving further.