8 February 2018

Liberia: 'Academic Crime Court Needed'

Education Minister-designate has told the Senate Committee on Education that he will push for the establishment of a special academic crime court to deal with issues undermining the country's education system.

Prof. D. Ansu Sonii said if the characterization of the education system of Liberia as being a mess must be changed to best, a strong policy is required to weed out individuals responsible for the mess.

Speaking Wednesday at the Capitol when he appeared for confirmation hearing, Prof. Sonii said if confirmed, he will consult relevant stakeholders to ensure the establishment of the Court to specifically handle malpractices in the education system.

He said the court will investigate teachers, school administrators, parents and students who are accused of engaging in bribery for services, and if found guilty will be charged with academic crime.

"We have identified more than ten issues of critical concern, but being in the classroom personally myself, there are two or three of those items. The greatest of them all is the inadequacy in supervision... then the academic administration is weak from the top to the District Education Officer (DEOs)," Prof. Sonii said.

The UL professor told senators that currently, there are 'C' Certificate holders whose limits are to only teach from early childhood to six grade, but are now teaching above those levels.

The Education Minister-designate promisedto strengthen the administrative structure of schools across the country to set a system that demands performance with no room for malpractices.

Prof. Sonii: " We have a plan Senators that if a teacher is found in malpractice not only that we disgrace you especially so with the ID card system that is coming now, you will never teach in this country unless I am not living or I don't have authority."

He said his administration will not give teachers second chance because they should possess quality that the future leaders can emulate.

Prof. Sonii said just as Liberia now has a Commercial Court, it is important to also have academic crime court to serve as due process for people who engaged in malpractices in the educational system.

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