21 March 2013

Liberia: Reform Not Quick Fix

After describing the country's educational system as a 'total mess' that needs drastic reforms, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says reforming the educational sector of Liberia is a long term process and not a 'quick fix' matter.

"We will try to take some difficult decisions in the next four years to improve our educational system; this is not a quick fix process; it is a long process, all of us have to work," President Sirleaf said.

Appearing on a live radio phone in talk show "Conversation with the President" on ELBC Tuesday, President Johnson-Sirleaf said the current Minister of Education, Edmonia David-Tarpeh inherited the doom state of the country's educational system and was trying to have them solved.

She said the government has already begun the reform process and it is expected to be extended to the various District Education Officers (DEOs), County Education Officers.

She said the process also seeks to give better incentives and attract qualified teachers.

"Within the Ministry itself, we've made some changes, and people should realize that the Minister herself is relatively new; some of these problems that I am pointing out are problems that she (Minister) has identified, and so, she is then trying to help fix it," President Sirleaf disclosed.

The Liberian leader said there were lots of gaps and challenges in the educational sector that require serious reform.

She named lack of functional libraries, textbooks, furniture and qualified teachers as some of the many challenges being faced by the country's educational sector.

"We need the cooperation of all; we need teachers for the classrooms, parents to ensure that their children go to school; we need supervisors in schools to properly monitor and respond to those needs..." she appealed.

She indicated that despite efforts by government to address some of the challenges in the sector by constructing and renovating schools, the increased enrollment of 1.5 million students in about 5,000 schools with over 22,000 teachers was still posing serious challenges to the government.

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