Let me advance few steps that the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Education (MOE) should follow in making effort to improve our school system in Liberia. Candidly, the GOL has been very unserious about the running of schools in the country as a whole; because the public schools which should be setting standard for private schools to follow is of low standard to the extent that affluent people wouldn’t desire to send their children in there due to low standard. Additionally, the infrastructure of public schools around the country are all in poor/bad shape and poorly ventilated with no library or reading room and well equipped laboratory for the pupils/students.
Another area worth speaking about is the unpreparedness of public school teachers that are instructing our children in schools as well as their level of training when it comes to education, just to list a few of the many problems in the sector. Now let me advance a few points I earlier spoke about that MUST DO to improve and better our school system and enhance the development of our educational sector. The GOL through the MOE must begin stakeholders consultation with all players in the educational sector to get their view on how they which to see the educational system in Liberia.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) must never only rely on Western oriented Liberians as they are selfish and will not promote the country’s interest. At the called stakeholders’ meeting re-visitation to the academic calendar for
Liberia should be made so that decisions reached are consensus based and not few affluent Liberians. This is because the present academic calendar which they are fighting to restore (September-June) was not broad based consultation but few affluent private schools. The 1943 school calendar act (March-December) was based on consultation of the Liberian people.
Another problem area is textbook. GOL needs to avail textbooks or reading material in Government bookstores as it was in the past to enable students to purchase same as it is required by the system. In the past, (1960s-80s) GOL made arrangement with Macmillan Publishing House to publish our textbooks for Liberia’s school system and when sold, GOL paid the company (seek former Minister Gongar for detail). Text books such as the Science: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics must be maintained with new edition into our schools with the right instructional staff teaching the subject. For mathematics: Algebra, Plane and Solid Geometry should be emphasized for the secondary level, beginning from grade 10th-12th.
One other area that needs consideration is the Language Arts; which comprises of English, Writing, Spelling and Reading Comprehension and literature. It is a major area that needs strengthening in our schools so as to improve reading and writing skills of our kids as well as their speaking ability to aid them conform to the English tenses.
The Macmillan English Series and other supplementary English books from the Sub-region must be used at the Junior and Senior schools because they are necessary to complement their study in English. These textbooks and other reading materials reflecting local contents will help a long way for the students to understand and appreciate their own value, and communities.
In another development, I suggest that the MOE reconsider to recall all retired former District Education Officers (DEOs), Chief Education Officer (CEOs) and teachers that are still active and strong on a contractual basis to serve as Supervising principals in the various Education Districts around the country; They are to check on the teachers assigned in the various public and private schools in the country to ensure that teachers’ lessons plans are made and followed in line with curriculum/syllabuses. This is because younger teachers and EOs are not willing to remain into their respective places of assignment to properly conduct the affairs they are employed to carry out. These personnel are not remaining into their work areas due to the lack or re-creational and social evening hours in most places of their assignment.
Furthermore; GOL thru the Ministry of Education should build housing facilities around all public Junior and Senior high schools in the leeward counties to serve as added incentives for public school teachers in Liberia. For elementary public schools the incentives must be provided for in their monthly salaries until such time GOL mobilized funding to construct same as above.
About the Contributor: Mr. J. Samuel Weeks, Sr., a former personnel Analyst and Director for School Accreditation, Ministry of Education, now served as Assistant Manager for Strategic Planning Unit (SPU), Forestry Development Authority (FDA).