Monrovia– The Ministry of Education has completed the training of 350 early childhood educators and primary school teachers and principals from 11 counties to launch a series of graduation programs in three regions (Northwest, Central and Southeast of Liberia).
There are 365 ECE and primary teachers, and 481 head teachers graduating this month in the three regions.
As the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony, Monrovia Consolidated School System Superintendent Isaac Saye Zarwolo warned graduates to be innovative in their teachings. Mr. Zarwolo said innovative teaching will propel students to become major contributors to nation building. He added that teachers must now move from what he described as a traditional teaching method to a more innovative and transformative approach.
“We live in a country with limited resources. So complaining won’t solve the problems. Therefore, you will need to be innovative in finding close substitutes to solve competing problems,” he said.
He urged the graduates to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the training well. These will include strong community engagements and collaboration with education stakeholders.
“The Effective Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is one way to ensure strong support for our school system. The government cannot do everything by itself; explore opportunities at the community level,” he added.
Also speaking, the coordinator of the Getting to Best in Education project, Joe K. Gbasakollie, said the persistent problem of unqualified teachers in Liberia is becoming history. According to the project coordinator, it is an open secret that the education sector in Liberia faces many challenges, including an insufficiently trained and inequitable distribution of teachers.
Mr Gbassakollie added that the 2017 MoE Teacher Verification and Testing Report indicates that 40% of primary school teachers lack the minimum knowledge of English required to be an effective teacher at primary level. He argued that the distribution of qualified teachers in Liberia is also inequitable, with regions with an economic advantage also getting more qualified teachers.
“The GPE-funded Getting to Best in Education (G2B) project was launched in 2018 to address the problem of teachers, especially in the six disadvantaged counties – Bomi, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland and River Gee.
As a target, the Ministry of Education was to ensure that 60% of ECE and primary teachers were qualified in the project’s original intervention counties over four years from a baseline of 45.77%. The MoE has already exceeded this target by the end of year 3 (30 June 2021) of the project.
The C-Certificate in-service training programs for principals, primary and ECE teachers are modeled after the ministry’s existing C-Certificate teacher education program, but are designed to be taken without requiring principals and teachers to miss school days.
In a brief remark, Assistant Secretary for Teacher Training Gayflor Washington said that despite the constrained fiscal environment and challenges associated with these training programs, RTTIs were able to successfully complete the second cohort of training.
Assistant Minister Washington commended the partners for the continued support for education over the years.
Additionally, the Deputy Minister announced that the Government of Liberia has committed US$2.8 million to the Ministry of Education to regularize the salaries of over 4,000 underpaid volunteer teachers. According to him, $1 million of this amount has been disbursed. To date, the GoL has employed over 600 volunteer teachers.
Speaking on behalf of the Directors of RTTIs, the Director of KRTTI, Mr. George Kpenneh, commended the efforts of the Government of Liberia, and in particular the Ministry of Education, for realizing the dream of effective continuing education programs teachers and principals.
The graduates themselves raved about the manner and form in which the training took place.
“The training was correct and the manuals were very rich. I was able to understand my modules, which I think will help me a lot in working with the community and other colleagues in the school in terms of improving learning outcomes through leadership and management of the school,” said Principal Anneta L. Taylor – Sackie Gbomoh. Bong Mines Road Public School, Margibi County.