LIBERIA: Schools remain head scratching over when schools should open for academic year 2022/2023

Professor Ansu D. Sonii, Sr., Minister of Education

Despite the huge economic challenges facing parents and guardians in Liberia, they had already mentally prepared to return to the country’s pre COVID-19 school calendar; which traditionally began in September and ended in June of the following year.

At the end of last school year, the Ministry of Education informed that schools would be opening on September 5, 2022.

Following this announcement parents began preparing their school going children for the new academic year, despite many complaints of astronomical hikes in school fees across both government and private schools.

Such public outcry reportedly informed the legislature to summon the education Minister Prof. D. Ansu Sonii, Sr. to explain circumstances surrounding the public outcry against hikes in school fees and the uncertainty surrounding the start of school.

According to a highly placed source at the Legislature, the section was later canceled and the minister was asked to return to work.

The result of all these misunderstandings has seriously conflicted the opening date of school.

According to reports, there would have been an upward adjustment in the time for the opening of school to enable parents to further adjust and source funds to take care of tuition and other fees following the legislative intervention.

The Ministry of Education issued no further circular to either dispel or confirm the speculation about the postponement of the opening of schools to October thereby leaving many schools unaware of the opening date.

However, the rumor of this session that would supposedly change the dates for the opening of school did not happen and some school owners acted on such rumor and postponed the reopening of schools to October. So now parents must ask themselves, “When exactly is school opening for our kids?” Some schools opened at the designated start date of September 5th, while others have pushed their start dates back as far as the first week of October.

Some private schools also went on to inform parents whose children had started schools already to hold on and await a new date that was rumored to be set up by the Ministry of Education.

This confusion can only be settled by the Ministry of education who remains tightlipped on the issue. There is a need for the ministry to publicly clarify if there would be a new date or all schools should open and begin classes immediately as per the first circular put out by the ministry at the end of the last school year.

One can only wonder about schools and students in rural Liberia, considering the many challenges they are already faced with. The questions are many; which date are they going to work with; have they began attending school already; how will schools make up for the missing days in the classrooms as the result of such confusion?

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