By Joaquin Sendolo
Mr. Robert F. Dekpah, principal of S.D. Mayson Elementary & Junior High School in Matadi, outside Monrovia, has described the donation of textbooks to the school by the Brian & Dorothy Knightley Foundation as, “a timely intervention.”
Making the statement following the donation Thursday, November 14, he indicated that teachers have been striving to get precious resource materials for students in the absence of books.
According to him, the lack of textbooks in the school hampers both teachers and students, because they are not able to adopt good reading habits, a factor which is paramount to the Ministry of Education’s program going forward.
“The textbooks provided by these gentlemen are timely, and we assure them that they will be used for their intended purpose,” he noted.
Mr. Dehkpah further said that while the amount of books may not fully meet their expectations, it is still very necessary to show gratitude to the donor group for thinking about them and providing resource materials that they are in dire need of.
A visit to the school’s library during the donation ceremony showed that it (library) is yet to be set up even though the school has been in existence for a long time.
There are over 150 students attending the school, many of whom are in the elementary division.
The principal said the teachers have to seek out materials to present as lecture notes, as neither teachers nor students have books to read, which, he emphasized, is not enough to help the students read well.
He noted that the textbooks will be well managed and that students will only handle them when it is class time, and that the books would be kept in the school and controlled by those teachers concerned.
The proprietor, Rev. Richard N. Cassell, expressed gratitude to the Brian & Dorothy Knightley Foundation for the books.
He commended members of the foundation, who are Liberians and alumni of the Salvation Army School System, and said it must be an example for other Liberians whose attention is not drawn to humanitarian work.
Fredrick B. Krah, head of the Brian & Dorothy Knightley Foundation told this paper that the cost of the textbooks brought to the S.D. Mayson Memorial School is LD$150,000 (US$1,900).
He said the project is initiated by him and some of his friends, who are alumni of the Salvation Army School System, and is intended to demonstrate the goodness of Brian and Dorothy Knightley to them.
According to him, the couple helped to establish churches and schools during their stay in Liberia, including Len Millar Elementary, Junior & Senior High School, William Booth, Salala Salvation Army School, amongst others.
He stressed that this couple having retired after leaving such a great mark on Liberia and Liberians, he said they established the foundation in honor of the couple that their impact will still be felt.
He added that it is also a way of helping to lift other young Liberians coming up as the couple did to them.
Mr. Krah furthered that they decided on giving out textbooks to help the Ministry of Education’s “Reading Campaign” project which embarks on all schools to engage students in reading.
The foundation bought a set for each of the fundamental subjects including English, Math, Science and Social Studies.
He also said the selection of S.D. Mayson Memorial School came when they assessed and realized that it is one school that lacks textbooks.
“As we give these textbooks, we will also be coming here to help teachers organize students for an hour of oral reading comprehension to complement Ministry of Education’s campaign,” he noted.