By Staff Writer*
Presidents are extremely busy people. In our part of the world, their busy schedules are even more pronounced at the moment with economic and health challenges. Hence, when a President takes out time to visit a school, albeit in an impromptu fashion, it focuses attention on the issue of education; and makes clear how important our leader finds it, despite the competing demands on a President’s time.
That was the case with the Kendeja Public School in Paynesville last week when the Liberian leader visited the educational facility. The school is supported by Bridge Liberia as part of the President’s education programme. Unannounced, President Weah arrived at the government school to the amazement of the students, staff and bystanders. After visiting classes and inspecting the facility, the President seemed impressed by the learning taking place and charged the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment to ensure that renovations are completed in a timely manner.
Kendeja public school has long had the favourable attention of the President who has taken personal interest in the renovations at the school. He wanted to make sure that the building and the infrastructure of Kendeja matched the improved learning taking place in it, under his education programme – The Liberian Education Advancement Programme (LEAP).
Staff, students, parents and authorities at the Ministry of Education (MOE) became excited about the President’s show of interest, especially as schools have been closed because of Covid 19 and morale in the education sector is low. In recents months schooling has been very hard for communities and officials in the MOE; who have been running remote learning programmes and planning for safe re-opening. The President’s unexpected visit was a boost not only for the community but for other educators in Liberia who have long noted, and been impressed by, the President’s enthusiasm for education. Educational partners or providers have not been spared the Covid 19 scourge and his impromptu visit could not have come at a better time for those working in the educational sector who need encouragement.
The Kendeja Public School is a government institution whose educational component is being run by Bridge Liberia, one of the Liberia Educational Advancement Program (LEAP) – a partner to the Ministry of Education. The programme is now entering its fifth year and was the forerunner of other government education programmes now springing up across the continent. The President is rightly claiming credit.
Though not part of the LEAP partnership arrangement , the educational provider Bridge, has been supporting the ministry in renovating learning institutions, including Kendeja. It has been providing the requisite equipment, materials, and environment to make the infrastructure supportive of the high quality education provided within the classrooms. The Ministry itself has been playing its fiduciary responsibility of catering to the physical infrastructure of its schools and was appreciative of the President, when the President stepped in on behalf of the government – through the Education Ministry – to enhance this win-win partnership in education for Liberian children.
Again, President Weah deserves so much credit for this timely action of his; bringing the focus on the nation back to education; just as schools are reopening and the population is recovering from the damage done by COVID. It is hoped that more of these government-driven initiatives will be pursued in education, especially as the economy continues its resurgence and even as these partnerships in education are further strengthened.