11 June 2019

Liberia: Education - Waymue Public School Abandoned?

Parents, teachers throw counter-accusations

Education in Liberia has been a challenge since the country's devastating civil war (1989-2003). And since then, the sector is yet to fully recover from the effect of the war.

Therefore, the country continues to struggle with its school system, and the difficult tasks associated with the training of teachers.

Situated between Gokai and Gbonota, Sanoyea School District in Bong County, the Waymue Public School is reportedly abandoned with grass taking over the entire facility.

The school was built by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) in 2009 with funding from the Liberia Education Pool Fund with the aim to buttress government's efforts in providing quality education for its citizens.

In an interview with the Daily Observer on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, the vice principal for instruction, David W. Kerkulah, said most of the teachers left the school when one of the them, identified as T. Kollie Mulbah, was allegedly killed in the town by unknown persons in 2012.

"Mr. Mulbah came in this town as a tradesman, and because of his little acquired education, we recruited him as one of government's employed teachers. But the way he died, it frightened many of his colleagues who abandoned the school and fled the town," Kerkulah said.

Mr. Kerkulah is also the registrar of the school.

He said that police investigation established through a 15-man jury that some parts of Mr. Mulbah were allegedly extracted by his killers for "ritual reason."

In the wake of his death, Mr. Kerkulah said police arrested three persons to help with the investigation. In the end, the suspects were sent to court for prosecution, "but it did not take long, when we saw them in the town on the basis that there was not sufficient evidence to convict them."

He said the enrollment for the present academic calendar is about 159 students with five teachers, three on government supplementary payroll, while the two others are volunteer teachers. The school operates from nursery to sixth grade.

Mr. Kerkulah said another factor that led to the premature closure of the school was the decision by the townspeople to send their children in the traditional Poro and Sande societies in the middle of the school year.

Poro and Sande are male and female secret societies, respectively, mainly practiced in the north-central and part of the western region in Liberia, to groom boys and girls in tradition and life skills.

But investigation conducted by this newspaper unearthed that the school has been inactive since the death of Teacher Mulbah, which caused many other teachers to leave for fear of losing their lives in a similar manner.

A former teacher of the school, John S. Freeman, who is now reassigned at the Gbonota Public School, said he left the school because of the mysterious death of his colleague.

"This school was built in this town, because of its strategic location. This town feeds eight satellite villages, but the people here do not like to send their children to school," Mr. Freeman said.

His claim was refuted by some of the parents, who said they took their children from the school, "because the teachers are not regular in school, and have also abandoned the school."


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