Undeterred by Teachers’ Threat

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In spite of the recent strike action announced by the National Teacher’s Association of Liberia (NTAL), one of the partnership schools for Liberia (PSL) says it is committed to improving the country’s education system.

As one of the eight partners, Bridge is currently managing 24 public primary schools in Montserrado, Margibi, Bong, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, River Cess and Bomi counties.

According to Bridge, in each of the eight counties, every community and child bring about new opportunities and hope for their families with this partnership.

“In this regard, Bridge Partnership Schools for Liberia (Bridge PSL) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) have embarked on providing quality education to every Liberian child together,” Bridge Internal Academies announced over the weekend.

They are delighted by the turnout at the schools they are managing, and the warm reception from parents, teachers, and community member, according to a Bridge statement.

Understandably, the statement said, “there are reservations in the process of developing trust, pride, and opportunities in the Liberian education system with transparency, support, and collaborative efforts from all parties.

“At Bridge, we belong to a global community of partners, parents, teachers, and families who share in our vision and benefit from the gains of education partnerships. At no point will Bridge Academies International (BIA) intentionally mislead the Liberian people. We take pride in our openness and accessibility, and in being active in education on an international spectrum.”

As the new school year has begun, BIA said its priority is to support teachers and administrators, ensuring that students maximize their learning capabilities at Bridge Partnership Schools.

The statement added: “This is a closely monitored process and involves teacher training and support, lesson guides, and empowerment of teachers, principals, and parents. At Bridge, we believe that quality education opens doors, expands horizons, and is ultimately the best gift of all.”

There has been an incredible level of enthusiasm in the recent weeks following the reopening of school, says Bridge, adding that classrooms are reaching maximum limits with parents clamoring for spaces to ensure that their children are registered at the public schools under BIA management.

BIA says it remains committed to zero school fees during its pilot partnership program at public schools.

Bridge Partnership Schools are public schools, and no fees are charged to attend school.

Therefore, the statement said, through Bridge’s generosity, children are receiving more learning than ever before and all pupils receive a free homework book to use each day, and to show their parents the work they have done in school.

Children in early childhood classes receive free class work books with activities and lessons to use and write in. Every child in primary school has time set aside to read books on a tablet computer to boost their reading skills – which is also free of charge. While other public schools charge for uniforms, Bridge has provided each child with a free school uniform. Bridge is also supporting the MOE’s efforts by equipping its schools with desks.

“Bridge does not require or receive payments from parents, students, or teachers. The MOE is supporting the Partnership Schools by paying all teaching and administrative staff. All of the programs at Bridge Partnership Schools are funded by donors, ensuring that the entity is self-sustaining.

“Let us remember, that education is a fundamental human right. We remain firmly rooted and committed to delivering on the confidence reposed in us by the government and the people of Liberia,” the statement noted.

Bridge said it looks forward to providing the very best for all children through the partnerships, and the opportunities afforded to them.

In a related development, MOE has termed the decision of the NTAL demanding the resignation of George K. Werner, Minister of Education, and inciting teachers to abandon their duties as “unrealistic and a perception built against the Liberian Education System.”

Recently, the leadership of NTAL and five other civil society organizations called for the resignation of Minister Werner, because of what the NTAL said was Werner’s unilateral decision making in running the country’s education system.

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