President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has held a meeting with stakeholders in the educational sector. She was joined by Education Minister George Werner and his Deputy for Instructions, Dr. Romell Horton.
According to an Executive Mansion release, at the meeting held at her office, President Sirleaf welcomed the stakeholders, and informed them that considering the need for urgent reform of the educational system, she thought it wise to invite them for consultation.
“I want to hear your concerns, and solicit your inputs about the educational system and make suggestions on the reform particularly how all actors and stakeholders working in concert with the government can bring some improvement and sanity to the sector,” the President is quoted by the release as telling the stakeholders.
According to the release, she encouraged the stakeholders to feel free and fearless in presenting their thoughts on the sector for the good of the country and its young people.
Minister Werner gave a background to the measures recently announced by the government through the MOE, and also informed the stakeholders about a number of ongoing interventions meant to improve the sector.
He pointed out that based on his recent assessment of schools across the country, including schools in southeastern Liberia; there are now efforts to evaluate the functionality of schools operating in the country and disclosed that a biometric system of identifying teachers is being established.
Minister Werner appealed to the stakeholders to work with the government and the MOE in ensuring that no child is left behind in Liberia.
Making inputs and contributions, the stakeholders raised various concerns about measures recently announced by the MOE, and made several recommendations and suggestions on how to better the sector and ensure all of the reforms required and deemed necessary are made without conflict and reversals of the gains already made in the sector.
They brainstormed about the timeframe of the proposed school year, tuition issues, textbooks, the conclusion of the current school year, the achievement and progress of students, teachers’ concern, among others with tangible recommendations and proposals on how to mitigate all the competing challenges and concerns of the sector at present.
The President then thanked the stakeholders for their frank discussions and all of the meaningful and positive recommendations, proposals and suggestions made during the meeting. She assured that the government will reflect on the recommendations and that the consultation process with government and stakeholders will continue.
The Liberian leader urged stakeholders to continue with different levels of consultations that will target teachers, students, Parent/Teachers Associations, etc. as they anticipate further consultations with government.
Educational stakeholders present at the meeting included Sister Mary Laurene Brown of Stella Maris, Sister Barbara Brillant of Mother Pattern, the Catholic Education Secretariat, the head of St. Theresa Convent, the Methodist school system, the Episcopal school system, the Baptist school system, Lutheran school system, the Salvation Army School system, Rev. Olu Menjay of the Baptist-run Ricks Institute, the President of the National Principals Association, UNICEF-Liberia, European Union Delegation in Liberia, USAID, Madam Olive White, among others.