Protesters demanding the immediate resignations of the Minister of Education and the Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) stormed the grounds at the Ministry of Education yesterday.
The protestors were teachers who told journalists that they are demanding the resignations of Minister George K. Werner and Superintendent Benjamin Jacobs because Werner’s educational reform has failed, besides his dismissing teachers and that Jacobs’s educational qualifications are questionable.
Spokesman Cyrus T. Kortu said the protesting teachers were from the Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers Association, the National Teachers Association of Liberia, and other local teachers’ unions.
Mr. Kortu said they are demanding Minister Werners’ resignation because of his role in bringing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) and the introduction of the Bridge Academies that he said lacks what it takes to reform the Liberian school system.
‘’The Public Private Partnership is now collecting over L$3000 per student in the primary level and there are many unqualified teachers teaching our children,” Mr. Kortu said.
According to him, Bridge Academies, the foreign private education company the government has outsourced the education system to, has no success story in all the countries it has served.
Mr. Kortu is the president of the MoE Scholarship Program at the William V. S. Tubman College of the University of Liberia. He said Minister Werner lacks leadership skills and Supt. Jacobs lacks quality academic credentials to manage education in the country.
Ms. Susan P. Nagbeh, a member of the MCSS Teachers Association, said once there is no satisfaction for everyone in all the sectors, including education, there will be no peace.
‘’We will make sure that all government school teachers lay their chalk down until Werner and Jacobs resign,’’ Nagbeh said. “Many children are not going to school due to Bridge Academies’ policies which is a great violation of their human rights.”
Responding to the teachers concern, acting Communications Director at the Ministry of Education, Mr. J. Shannor Goe, said the teachers are at liberty to express their feelings but should understand that Minister Werner is not the problem in the education reform process.
‘’It is unfortunate that the teachers are demanding the resignation of the Minister. Minister Werner is working with specific mandates and if he should go it must be based on his violation of those mandates,’’ he said.
Mr. Goe further said that reform is not a unilateral decision of Werner but the government in line with plans within the international best practices.
He admitted that Bridge Academies failed in Kenya and Uganda but said “it does not mean they can also fail in Liberia.”
On students not enrolled in school due to Bridge’s policy of having a minimum size of students in a classroom, Mr. Goe said the choice is for parents to send their children to other schools.
The aggrieved teachers, who termed yesterday as day one of their peaceful protest vowed not to stop until Werner and Jacobs resign from their jobs.