MONROVIA, Liberia — The Ministry of Education wishes to correct recent statements made by Vice President Joseph Boakai on a radio program that Education Minister George Kronnisanyon Werner stalled efforts to bring in a US$6 million investment into the country.
Minister Werner was sent a letter on April 4, 2017 from Dionysius Sebwe inviting him to make a brief remark at the National High School Football and Kickball Championship. The invitation came just eight days before the tournament was proposed to begin, with the kick off scheduled in the middle of the following school week. Moreover, the letter did not request approval for students to attend the tournament.
Despite not having been given approval for the tournament, the organizers proceeded to advertise the tournament over radio. In May, just several days before the WAEC exams were to be held, an announcement was made on a radio program that the tournament would be held among high schools from across the country.
After consultation with the deputy minister for instruction, county education officers, and the regional education officers, none of whom were aware of this tournament or had given their approval, the Ministry issued a statement noting that it had not sanctioned the program and that principals and education officers should ensure that students remain in schools to prepare for the WAEC exams uninterrupted.
The Ministry further urged the organizers of the program to conduct the tournament in July, when school was out, to guarantee greater participation from students and ensure that students’ preparation process was not disrupted.
At no point did the Vice President’s office communicate to the Minister of Education that there was a US$6 million investment that students would benefit from; however, the Ministry of Education has in recent past cooperated with the Vice President’s office to free containers of couscous and tuna cans alleged to have been destined for schools.
In past years, Liberian students have not performed well on standardized exams, with mass failures in the University of Liberia entrance exams and underwhelming performances on WAEC exams. However, due to the Ministry’s efforts and those of Liberia’s hardworking teachers and students, the results of this year’s exams showed an increase in performance. 64 percent of Grade 9 students and 58 percent of Grade 12 students received a passing result, up from 61 and 40 percent, respectively, in 2016.
Liberian children do not need any additional disruption that can negatively impact their ability to succeed in their studies. It is the Ministry of Education’s responsibility to prioritize ensuring that students are in school and learning, and it will continue to do so.
The Ministry of Education welcomes additional investment in Liberia’s education system, and it has worked tirelessly to secure such investments through the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) program and other initiatives. The Ministry would urge any potential investors or donors to work through the appropriate channels to ensure that their contributions are deployed in a way that does not disrupt students’ ability to learn.
For more information, please contact the Ministry of Education at +231 777 403 676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.