Barely 24 hours after reporting that authorities at the Ministry of Education (MOE) have planned to close down schools across the country without promoting any deserving students, some private school teachers, have strongly disagreed with that decision.
The teachers, under the banner “Concerned Private School Teachers, are represented by the chairman, Larry Howison and secretary-general, Johnny Hopkins.
The teachers have united to also advocate for post Ebola funds, which they claim are intended for private school teachers.
In a strongly-worded statement issued late Sunday night, the Concerned Private School Teachers overwhelmingly disagreed with the MOE’s reported “proposal for change of academic calendar,” a policy which according to the teachers, is suggesting a premature closure of schools on June 30.
Based on that decision, deserving students will not receive promotion statements.
“This is not in the interest of parents and guardians who have paid huge amounts in school fees without getting the desired results,” the Concerned Teachers declared.
They have meanwhile recommended that school administrators work with their respective teachers to keep all schools open and avoid their premature closure as the MOE has announced.
The teachers also suggested that a quick adjustment be made for academic activities to come to a formal end around September and a new academic year begin in October, thereby putting the country back on track with other countries in the sub-region.
“The MOE must work along with stakeholders to draw up a comprehensive school calendar that will complete the academic year, 2015.” The Concerned Teachers also recommended that the government pays the private school teachers their Ebola relief money as soon as possible, the statement noted.
A leaked document in the possession of the Daily Observer indicates that schools will close on June 30 for Early Child Development (ECD), Basic and Secondary schools, and there will be no promotions for all grades.
This suggests that tuition paid by parents and guardians amid the economic hardship caused by Ebola would be only for what is being termed as a “study class” period from February to June, 2015.
The document further states that the writing of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams is suspended until 2016. But the WAEC National Monrovia Head office is yet to make an official comment on these momentous developments.
A source at the WAEC Congo Town office told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that they are yet to receive word from the Ministry of the Education as to whether the exams have indeed been deferred until next year.
“We are under the authorities at the MOE and whatever they desire is what we at WAEC will do, but as of now, we have no official word from MOE concerning this year’s WAEC exams, even though students have paid their WAEC fees,” our source said.
MOE has not commented officially, but the Assistant Director of Communication, Sannor Goe, has repeatedly told this newspaper that whatever decision the Ministry intends to arrive at would be announced by the Ministry of Information.
As per the leaked document, Mr. Sannor referred to it as “mere speculation.”
The mobile phone of the new Education Minister, George Werner, has remained mute since the report landed in the office of this newspaper on Sunday, while his Deputy for Administration, who promised to call back when our reporter contacted him, has not returned the call since Sunday evening.
However, according to the new academic calendar, no exams will be administered by WAEC for 9 and 12 graders.
Hereafter, “Saturday Clubs Enrichment Programs” will be encouraged in all schools, especially at the basic and secondary levels. This initiative, according to the document, is recommended to be conducted every Saturday beginning October 2015 for grades 9 and 12.
The document states that Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Reading Comprehension and Writing specialists from WAEC will develop aptitude tests for teachers who will teach the Saturday classes. These classes will be open to all students in grades 9 and 12.
Additionally, the document said, contracts will be signed by students for punctuality and conduct, while schools will also sign up to ensure their participation.