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’re finding out about this thing last,” said Carrie Scoville, a member of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council who led discussions at Tuesday night’s informal meeting. Caltrans representatives were unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting, but Caltrans spokeswoman Maria Raptis said that the agency tried to inform residents about the landscaping work before it began. “We did go door-to-door handing out fliers to those who are most impacted by the project,” she said, defining that group as the “immediate neighbors.” Scoville and the approximately 10 residents, most of whom live adjacent the area being landscaped, suggested that, among other things, Caltrans plant low-maintenance vegetation, notify neighbors before work is done, put down fabric to guard against wind and water erosion and prioritize work to plant near houses first. “Caltrans now knows that we exist,” Scoville said, noting that agency representatives are taking another look at their plans after getting negative feedback from residents at an Aug. 14 neighborhood council meeting. By Rachel Jones STAFF WRITER A small group of San Pedro residents dissatisfied with Caltrans handling of the ongoing planting and irrigation project along SR-47 and the 110 freeway met and suggested changes in the plan earlier this week. The goal of the $2 million overhaul is to improve the roadside landscaping, both functionally and aesthetically, on Route 47 from Gaffey Street to Harbor Boulevard, and on Route 110 from Gaffey Street to Channel Street. Clearing of the old plants and brush – which neighbors say was neglected for years – began this summer and upset residents who say they were not informed of the plans. Raptis confirmed that the plans are being modified slightly. “I wouldn’t say it’s being revamped, but we are changing the placement of the trees,” she said. “Some \ want shade and some want the view, so we’re going to be placing them differently.” As for implementing the suggestions made by those at Tuesday’s meeting, Raptis said they are open to ideas but must also abide by agency conventions. “Community input is very important to Caltrans in all of our activities, but there is a balance to what we must achieve,” she said. The Caltrans project will be discussed at the Sept. 11 Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting, at 6:30 p.m. in a new location at the Port of Los Angeles High School auditorium. firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!