NTAL Rejects PSL, Launches Research paper

By: Eldred Wlemongar Thomas/thomaseldred2012@yahoo.com

As the Liberian Government seeks the endorsement and establishment of the controversial Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL), the umbrella teachers’ organization, the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) has publicly launched an interim research on the ongoing controversial Partnership Schools for Liberia.

This new deal by the Liberian Government is intended to outsource its primary and pre-primary education system of Liberia to a US based Bride International Academies which was openly greeted with mixed reactions and criticisms from the NTAL, political actors, civil society organizations and the ordinary citizens.

As a result of this move on the part of the Ministry of Education to impose the PSL on the Liberian educational system, several calls were made requesting for the immediate dismissal of the Minister of Education, George Werner by the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The government through the Ministry of Education defended its decision and has since commenced a one-year pilot program where eight actors will operate 93 schools. NTAL was the first group to raise concerns after letter of protest to the National Legislature.

But presenting the research paper to mediators between the government and the Teachers of Liberia, NTAL President Mary Nyuma said the partnership is detrimental to an improved educational system, noting it presents different modules of learning which will confuse students.

She lamented that the position is a firm decision on the Global response to the commercialization of education.

Madam Nyuma said the NTAL will not be deterred by anyone or institution to thwart their advocacy against the operations of the PLS and PPP.

She said the advocacy is not an issue for teachers only, but a Liberian business and at such it requires the total involvement of all.

Madam Nyuma called on teachers to be robust in launching awareness to communities to inform and educate Liberians about the Partnership Schools Liberia.

She rejected assertions that the educational system is a mess, but instead lacks the needed financial support and necessary instructional materials.

The Liberian government through the Education Ministry as well as Members of National Legislature were conspicuously absent from the program.

The NTAL President said the absence of Education Ministry authorities and other key policy makers demonstrated their level of insensitivity to issues affecting the educational sector.

Receiving the document, the head of the National Christian Council of Liberia Rev. Rudolph Marsh assured the Teachers that it will reach the office of the President and other relevant education stakeholders.

He pledged the National Christian Council support and promised to rally support from private schools and churches to join the advocacy of NTAL.

According to him, the pending collaboration through a Memorandum of Understanding will make it make stronger and advocate better against ills in the educational sector of Liberia.

He commended Education International for its contributions and relentless support to the NTAL in its strive against PSL in Liberia. Detailing the research work was a Power point presentation was done by researcher Tyler Hook who lauded representatives from Africa for he termed as Pan African Solidarity.

Mr. Hook said the research was done by team from the University of Wisconsin in the United States along with Liberian research assistants.

He named accountability, transparency, impact on teachers and students, lack of evidence based, involvement of key education actors including district and county Education Officers as some of the unanswered issues regarding the PLS.

According to him, the research has so far showed the Partnership cannot to reach the most disadvantaged schools and students as professed.

Commenting on track record of PSL, the search paper showed that most of the providers never operated preprimary school in Liberia before.

He pointed to the question vetting of schools by Education Ministry and the involvement of relevant education actors and communities.

The Power Point presentation listed some of the PSL service providers including  BRAC, BIA, Street Child, Rising Academies, MTM and Stella Maris.

Researcher Hook quotes the document as saying that partners were not constructing new schools, but taking over traditional public primary and pre-primary schools across the country.

“Liberian Education authorities lack the ability to effectively monitor and evaluate PSL operations in the country, he indicated”.

Also speaking was a representative from Education International, Angelo Gavrielators who applauded the team of researchers headed by Tyler Hook.

In a rather dissatisfy tone Mr. Gavrielators, sounded that Education International own no government apology for its work to ensure transparency, accountability and sustainability in education.

Mr. Gavrielators further noted Education International will continue to raise the issues that matter to improve educational systems.

“None of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the government of Liberia and service providers have been made public, he intimated”.

He challenged Liberian teachers to consolidate the solidarity and increase advocacy against such educational system as the teachers chanted their solidarity slogans committing themselves to oppose the Partnership Schools Liberia which claimed is in no way helping the educational system.

The program which stated with a parade from YMCA on Broad Street to the Monrovia City Hall was graced by representatives of Teacher Unions from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and officials of Education International among others.

The education also showcased their commitment and support to their Liberian counterpart to vehemently oppose and reject the so-called Partnerships Schools for Liberia.

The launch was also fully attended by the 15 counties leaderships and hundreds of the National Teachers Association from across Liberia.

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About Cholo Brooks 17519 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.