24 December 2012

Liberia: School System Seeks Autonomy

The Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), a public institution, is seeking autonomy and has appealed to President Johnson-Sirleaf to grant it autonomous status.

Making the appeal on behalf of the System recently at the William V.S. Tubman High School during a brief visitation by President Johnson-Sirleaf, the President of the Monrovia Consolidated School System Principal Association, Daniel Mulbah said the MCSS is faced with many challenges that they could solve independently, but have to wait on government's intervention for solution.

What he did not say however is how the System intends to generate funds to operate those schools being supported by the government as well as pay salaries for instructors and staff.

He said the MCSS is divided into three educational districts, including Sinkor, Bushrod Island and Central Monrovia with a total of 28 public schools under its supervision.

There are also apprehensions that if the System obtained autonomy, parents of children in those schools may be asked to pay tuition and other fees, including chairs and instructional materials being provided by the State, which could undermine government's free primary education program.

But Mulbah noted that the MCSS needs to have its own teeth to bite and solve some of those problems of over crowdedness of schools, building of more schools, and building the capacity of MCSS members, amongst others.

He urged the President to take seriously plights of teachers in the employed of MCSS, while stressing the need for the construction of more schools in Montserrado County to accommodate students desirous of enrolling in its institutions.

Teachers of the System also urged the Liberian leader to address the problems of transportation and allowances, something they said are impeding the smooth operation of the entity.

In response, President Johnson-Sirleaf assured the MCSS family that government will shortly effect great changes within the entire school system of Liberia. She said such changes will be achieved through the implementation of the government's national development program, the Agenda For Transformation (AFT) launched recently.

The AFT is a five-year development strategy, which followed the overly publicized, but criticized Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) or Lift Liberia, which focused on post-conflict emergency reconstruction and recovery.

The Agenda For Transformation also aims to taking the country beyond economic recovery, and structure the foundation for transformative growth and development in the next five years.

The AFT is the first giant step taken by the Johnson-Sirleaf Administration to actualize goals outlined in Vision 2030, Liberia's long-term march towards creating a middle income society through inclusive growth and robust socio-economic development.

The Liberian leader also praised the teachers for their dedicated work over the years in providing quality education for Liberian students, and presented a check for US$10,000 as Christmas gift for teachers and officials of the Monrovia Consolidated School System.

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