The National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) has expressed dissatisfaction over the establishment of the Partnership Schools for Liberia or PSL, calling on the Liberian Vice President to use his office to reinstate teachers that were dismissed because of their opposition to the introduction of the PSL.
The NTAL made the disclosure when executives of the teacher union met with Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai last Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at the 12th Street Sinkor new headquarter of the NTAL under construction when the Liberian Vice President paid a visit where the Representative Council from across the country had assembled for their bi-annual meeting. The teachers told the Liberian Vice President in their rather resolute stance, “We say no to Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) program.”
Presenting the research report, and a position statement on the rejection of the PSL, the acting president of the NTAL Mary Mulbah Nyumah on behalf of the teachers said, “We present this document to you to say no to PSL. We want quality education in Liberia and we can do better with our old system. We don’t want discrimination among our children. We don’t want discrimination in the schools. Our teachers are being left out, students are left out because of the PSL. Looking at the incoming government we do not want any more embarrassment. On behalf of our partners, Education International, the CSO we present this document to you”.
According to the press release, Vice President Boakai had visited the new headquarters building site under construction to make good a pledge of 200 bags of cement promised the teachers.
The teachers also pleaded with the Vice President to assist them in whatever way for the full completion of their headquarters and the provision of transportation.
Earlier, expressing appreciation to the Vice President on behalf of the Representative Council of the NTAL, Bomi County President Isaac Kamara said in life it takes a man or a woman to give. And that it is not everyone that gives, “thank you for the gift”.
He said the thought by the Vice President to see the need to give something to the teachers is welcomed. “It’s timely, it’s timely, it’s timely” Mr. Kamara emphasized. The NTAL local president further said that the gesture by Vice President Boakai to recognize the effort of the teachers by looking at their building and seeing the road they as teachers play in Liberia and around the world was motivating. “We want to take this time for and on behalf of the Council Members from the fifteen counties to say thank you. Thank you for the thought, and thank you it is timely. It came at the right time.”
The tough-talking Bomi County president rejected an old adage – that teachers in Liberia are poor. “For us in Liberia we’ll continue to remain firm to say we are not poor. We are not poor teachers.” Mr. Kamara lamented that teachers have produced professional people including bankers but yet they are still considered us poor teachers. He said the construction of the NTAL new headquarter is their own initiative. “Out of our own dues we pay monthly is what’s putting this building up. So, to come and give us 200 bags of cement will carry us far”, Mr. Kamara assured the Vice President, the release said.
Vice President Boakai in response thanked the teachers for the opportunity. “Let me let you know that particularly in the teaching field – we know what it takes to teach. We know what it takes to teach others and leaving your own children.”
The Vice President thanked the teachers for the initiative to construct their new headquarters building which he said shows commitment, and interest in their profession. “We all know the sacrifices you make to help others move and maybe to earn and live better than you. Without teachers, I don’t know what kind of world we will have, so I want to thank you.”
“I listened to you and believe that if one is to make any transformation in education you will start with people that are already in. But I thank you for the none violent approach. Thank you for your commitment to peace”, Vice President Boakai commended.
He then asked the teachers to submit a listing of what they need, and promised to provide some assistance. The headquarters complex of the NTAL is estimated at US$1.6 million. The ground floor is nearly 85% completed. Since the founding of the NTAL in 1938 by a group of teachers led by Ellen Mai Scarborough it has been renting.