20 March 2019

Liberia: PTA Network Leadership to Meet With Stakeholders

The leadership of the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Network of Liberia said it will visit stakeholders in each of the 15 counties, starting from April 26, 2019 to discuss and review matters concerning the improvement of the country's educational sector.

National PTA Network President J. Mason Saweler, told the Daily Observer in an interview on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 that the pending meeting will take his leadership to all the 15 counties to meet with more than 200 parents and teachers across the country.

"Our meeting is to solicit parents and teachers' support for the improvement of the educational sector," Saweler said.

He said the Liberia Education Reform Act of 2011 was meant to decentralize, and also to increase the country's education budget to 20 percent.

Saweler said the Act was also meant to set into motion an educational system, with the aim of laying the foundation for reform of the old system that was blamed for student mass failure and lacked of qualified teachers.

He said his leadership will examine the role of the parents and teachers as to how the Act would enable the Ministry of Education to become more decentralized.

Saweler said his leadership's meeting would seek the support of teachers and parents' support to present a common front to the Liberian government on the importance of implementing policies and administrative guidelines to make the Act effective.

Among other measures enshrined in the new Act, he said County School Boards are to make decisions pertinent to their respective counties, and take ownership of their local school system; also, a national student loan program, funded by the government, private donations and contributions is to be established to enable more Liberians pay for their education, and increase the overall enrollment rate at the tertiary level.

Saweler said the Act also calls for professionalizing teaching through free education; restructuring and elevating teacher training institutes to operate at the Junior College level and award Associate degrees; increasing teachers' salaries commensurate with their qualifications, specialty, workload, and location.

He also said Liberia is a signatory to the Dakar Framework of Action of 2000, which is a global linked with the Education for All (EFA) Movement, a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults. At the World Education Forum (Dakar, 2000), 164 governments pledged to achieve EFA and identified six goals to be met by 2015, which Liberia was a part.

Saweler said Liberia is also a signatory to "The Incheon declaration on education adopted at the World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea on 15 May 2015 that says by 2030, all governments should work towards an inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all their citizens."

He said with such an impressive commitment by the Liberian government, it would be necessary for parents and teachers to discuss issues, emanating, therefore to speak about the need for the government to make its commitments realistic to the people.

Saweler said the meetings would include leaders of parent-teachers associations, religious leaders, women leaders, township commissioners, district commissioners, clan chiefs, paramount chiefs, traditional leaders, disabled leaders, county education officers, and national teachers associations.

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