The principal of the Voinjama Multilateral High School (VMHS) in Lofa County has said that due to a lack of access to a US$200,000 budgetary allotment intended to run and rehabilitate destroyed buildings, the school continues to endure setbacks.
Shedding light on some of the problems the school has encountered, Principal Ericson W. Boakai made the disclosure recently in Voinjama City in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer.
Mr. Boakai explained that the allotment has gone through the Ministry of Education (MOE) for onward disbursement to the Voinjama Multilateral High School administration for its infrastructural development. In spite of this, the school has been denied access to the funds.
The VMHS principal said that as a result of not having access to the school’s budgetary allotment, it is unable to rehabilitate the Physics and Chemistry laboratories for its senior high students. Other major departments in need of restoration are the auto and technical departments, both of which are sorely lacking in modern equipment.
According to Principal Boakai, prior to the destruction of most of the school during the civil conflict, it produced mid-level personnel trained in auto mechanics, agriculture, business, and various technical fields.
Since the end of the war, the agriculture department has been rehabilitated and the school is producing a variety of crops to buttress the school’s other initiatives.
Mr. Boakai revealed efforts have been made through the authorities at the MOE to grant VMHS access to funds from central government but these attempts are yet to bear fruit.
Asked about other challenges his school faces, Mr. Boakai said since the Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Center (LOIC) completed its partnership with the school in the area of computer training, the computer laboratory has remained closed.
He claimed there was an agreement between the VMHS administration and LOIC staff, which specified upon completion of their computer training partnership the computer lab would be turned over to the school for operations.
“Since then,” said Principal Boakai, “the over 40 functional desk and laptop computers continue to be locked up with no indication in sight concerning when the school will have access to its own computer lab.”
When our reporter asked why the school’s dormitory for female students was not open, Principal Boakai said the criteria set by the Ministry of Education could not be met for students who wanted to board in the dormitory.
He appealed to the Education Ministry authorities to release of the budgetary allotment to accelerate the school’s ability to achieve academic excellence. He also asked the LOIC management to turn over the computer lab to VMHS’s administration for the sake of the students.