26 February 2013

Liberia: 'Mess'

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says education is a 'big mess' and requires overhauling to meet current realities.

The Liberian leader expressed disappointment with the performance of the Education Ministry in tackling major issues confronting the sector.

She suggested that there will be serious overhauling at the ministry to ensure that the sector is transformed and meet future challenges.

President Sirleaf spoke at a cabinet retreat last week at the Baptist Seminary outside Monrovia. President Sirleaf was so disappointed with the performance of the Education Ministry to the effect that she disregarded the presentation to find out why the ministry is not up to the task.

"I don't even want to look at those targets for the Education Ministry because they're meaningless...unless there is a complete overhaul of that ministry," the President told her cabinet.

It is not clear whether the President would consider replacing Education Minister Etmonia David- Tarpeh, a veteran whose performance is being decried by her boss.

"The reason you don't have enough money is because all your money goes into ghost teachers that we can't get straighten up," President Sirleaf emphasized at the meeting.

During the retreat, Deputy Minister for Instruction, Mator Kpangbai, made the presentation on behalf of the Education Ministry, although Minister Tarpeh was in attendance.

The Education Minister evaded most of the inquiries and concerns raised by the President, and when she decided to address some of them, her responses were blurred. She commented mostly on cleaning up the payroll of ghost teachers, an exercise that seems fruitless.

"It's more than cleaning up the payroll, you've got to clean the ministry," President Sirleaf told Minister Tarpeh. The Education minister also suggested that cleaning the Ministry is also part of the process but that the ministry was limited to certain number of pies in the presentation.

She raised the issue regarding higher education and the reforms that have been implemented by the Education Ministry across the country. Surprisingly, Minister Tarpeh could not present a comprehensive analysis of the Education Sector.

The Liberian leader left the meeting not impressed entire with the performace of some key ministry including Education Ministry still staggering to clean up the payroll of ghost teachers.

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