The Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) early this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education, UMC has disclosed.
According to Mr. Jonathan Kaipai, Director of Community Services at the faith-based establishment, the MOU is intended to partner with national government in providing quality education through the construction of modern elementary, junior and senior high schools in three counties.
Grand Bassa, Margibi and Rivercess Counties are the targeted areas for this initiative and will continue until 2015. The value of the project is not known to the public. However, the project stands to strengthen the rural educational sector and reduce the burden of citizens’ migration to urban areas in search of quality education.
Making the disclosure yesterday in Monrovia, Mr. Kaipai announced that the project will focus on providing training for 186 teachers, construct teachers’ quarters for the targeted community schools and create facilities to accommodate physically challenged students in the counties.
“This MOU intends to establish community school agricultural programs for feeding and self-sustainability. We intent to rehabilitate/renovate existing school structures, increased girls’ enrolment with a threshold of 60% females for all new enrolment, reduce our gender parity index, increase by 30% the number of female teachers and increase enrolment of students through junior high school by 10%,” Kaipai indicated.
The partnership deal with the Liberian government is amongst several programs instituted by the UMC through the Community Integrated Education Program, (CIEP) implemented by the Department of Community Services.
Mr. Kaipai, who was a senatorial candidate in the Grand Bassa County by-election, spoke at the validation seminar where CIEP actors had gather for participatory evaluation in an effort to implement existing projects.
Also making remarks, the Rev. Bishop Dr. John G. Innes commended the Church for such initiatives.
Bishop Innes described education as “redemption from darkness to light,” and as such, “educated Liberians must be able to give back to their communities and nation in general, the knowledge they have acquired.”
“This nation has done a lot for us and those of us that are educated must impact our country positively. When we are not able to provide quality education to the nation, it becomes sad for us as people,” the Bishop explained.
“Liberia deserves the best from all of us and anything we do to the contrary has a negative reflection on us. We need to bring back home the good things we see out there when we travel, in order to make our country a better place,” the Methodist prelate intoned.
Accordingly, the CIEP and the MOU, along with the Liberian government, are the results of Dr. Innes’ engagement with churches in Norway to assist Liberia in many different ways.
“As the church remains the light in the world,” he said, “UMC is committed not only to spreading the gospel, but building the human-resource capacity of the nation.”