Since the civil war, over 100 public schools in rural Liberia have persistently shown no sign of academic improvement because of the lack of trained teachers.There is a persistent gap in the performance, achievement and results between rural and urban students, except for a few rural schools run by concessions and churches, which are narrowing the gap, according to an ongoing audit of rural education by the Committee on Education and Public Administration of the House of Representatives.A member of the Secretariat of the House Committee, who requested anonymity, told the Daily Observer over the weekend that “the Ministry of Education is yet to develop a targeted and comprehensive strategy to overcome commonly understood learning barriers. These include the failure to employ qualified teachers, the lack of laboratory and library facilities needed to strengthen the rural workforce and improve the quality of life for rural Liberians.”The source said there are significant gaps in educational attainment as well as in the quality and availability of healthcare between rural and urban communities. These gaps arise in part because rural areas face several unique challenges in achieving high-quality education and health care.The source further said that in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the USAID Liberia Teacher Training Program is supporting the Rural Teacher Training Institutes in Zorzor, Kakata and Webbo. The goal, said the source, is to develop teacher standards, improve curricula, provide teaching and learning resources and, through school-based teacher training, implement Liberia’s national plan to ensure that all children are reading by the end of grade three.The House Committee on Education and Public Administration is also investigating why some of the trained teachers from rural training institutions are yet to be given assignments and placed on payroll amid the so-called search for qualified teachers to be deployed across the country.The Committee is chaired by Rep. Matthew Zarzar and co-chaired by Rep. C. Alex Grant. The members are Representatives Ben Fofana, Edward Forh, Fofi Sahr Biamba, Mariamu Fofana and Christian Chea.The Plenary of the House mandated the Committee last Tuesday, February 3, based on a communication from Rep. Johnson T. Chea of Electoral District 1, River Gee County.According to the River Gee Lawmaker, if trained teachers from reputable institutions of rural training find it difficult to get assignments and placements on Government payroll for the effective development of the children, Liberia cannot boast of any bright future for its rural dwellers.Citing the provision of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, Rep. Chea declared that education is a fundamental right for every child in spite of location, economic background or affiliation, among other things.“We cannot deny our children this right. We need to act not tomorrow, but now as we set the pace in preparing our precious jewels for tomorrow,” the lawmaker asserted in his communication.He maintained that government must take the necessary action to ensure that qualified teachers are hired and placed on Government payroll.The Committee is expected to review and advise plenary on Tuesday, 17 February. The question is, will the Liberian Government employ and deploy those 1,500 trained teachers in rural schools to improve the education sector in the interior?It may be recalled that prior to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), 156 graduates from the Zorzor Rural Teacher Training Institute (ZRTTI) were awarded pre-service “C” certificates, qualifying them to teach at the primary school level.The Director of the ZRTTI, Dr. Advertus Orea Wright, awarded the certificates along with one of two Peace Corps Volunteers who worked with the institution during the teacher training.The graduates, mostly between the ages of 25 and 35, hailed from Lofa, Bong and Nimba counties.They are the most recent addition to a new cadre of teachers being trained by the Government of Liberia, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to ensure that qualified teachers are placed in classrooms across the country.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
“We have had a problem, particularly with the transients. If they don’t come and register every 30 days, we don’t know where they have gone,” Waite said, explaining that transients have to register every 30 days under state law, while people who have stable residences register once a year. In 1947, California was the first state in the nation to enact a sex-offender registration law, and the state’s Megan’s Law was enacted in 1996, allowing law local enforcement agencies to notify the public about sex-offender registrants who could pose a risk to the public. The law is named for a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered by a known child molester who had moved across the street from her family. Sgt. Randy Foushee of the Simi Valley Police Department said the grant will help all the local law enforcement agencies in an important task. “The law enforcement community recognizes that we need to communicate on a regular basis because some of these sex offenders are moving around from community to community,” he said. “We have to communicate and we are doing that.” In November, California voters approved Proposition 83, known as Jessica’s Law, to improve monitoring of sex offenders and increase penalties and restrictions on where sex offenders can live. The law is named after a 9-year-old Florida girl raped and murdered in 2005. Among other things, the new law bars registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park. Once police find that someone is not at a site where they have registered, “We immediately start looking, make contact and make sure they are complying with the rules,” Waite said. Of the new task force, he said, “It makes the whole system run more efficiently.” Officials said the $687,750 grant from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services will be divided among the three counties to improve training and public awareness of the laws governing people registered as sex offenders and how the public can use the Megan’s Law Web site to monitor their neighborhoods. In California, www.meganslaw.ca.gov keeps track of more than 60,000 registered sex offenders. The grant money also will provide for a deputy to work full time tracking registered sex offenders and act as a deterrent by letting the sex-offender registrants know they are being monitored, Waite said. “It allows us to update our systems,” he said, “get ahold of these guys, see what they look like now, and keep track of them.” firstname.lastname@example.org (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A state grant is helping the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department keep better track of registered sex offenders with a new task force involving Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The $687,750 grant will help the sheriff’s departments in the tri-county area work with local police departments and immigration and probation agencies. “It helps us better track the sex registrants and keep the database updated. It makes the whole system run more efficiently,” said Sgt. Tim Waite, a supervisor of the Sexual Assault Unit for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. The new task force is called the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) team.