Reforming Liberian Schools in Five Easy Steps


By Elliot Wreh-Wilson, Ph.D.
Harper, LIBERIA



The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
December 16, 2015

                  



 
 
 
 

The national conversation on reforming our schools has waned. But reforming our schools should not be complicated.

First, let us begin by reducing class size, especially at the elementary level.  Any first grade, second grade or third grade class with more than 24 students is a zoo, not a class. The teacher must be able to spend at least three quality minutes of class time with each child. At 24 students, and one hour to a class, she has barely two minutes with each child and 12 minutes to spare. The solution is to build more classrooms.

Second: Re-introduce the old “In-Service” teacher training program. Book people call this “professional development.” It works! There, teachers learn new ways to plan and execute coursework. They also learn more efficient ways to do assessment of learning outcomes. Students need to know what they get right and wrong and why. Assessment is essential to learning. But with so many large classes to handle, assessment has taken a back seat at our schools. We need to change that.

Third: Introduce students to technology. Laptops are a necessity, not a luxury anymore. Liberia is certainly in the position to procure just enough to service our schools. We don’t need a laptop for each child; all we need is a computer lab to facilitate computer literacy. We only need twenty-five laptops to a school - one for the lab facilitator and twenty-four for the class, assuming we limit class size to twenty-four.

Fourth: English is our official language. Students who understand English, and can read, write and speak with confidence, tend to do well in all subjects. So, let’s prioritize the teaching of English again. We need to rethink the amount of time we allot to teaching and studying English at our schools.

Fifth: Each year, a good number of Liberian students earn the very coveted magna and summa cum laude distinctions when they complete their baccalaureate degrees. We can place these students in our graduate programs to earn M.A. and M.Sc. degrees that will qualify them for teaching in our high schools and elementary schools. Call this an investment in our children’s education. In gratitude to government, those who earn their graduate degrees may serve up to two years at any of our schools before they can move on. Not too much to ask of them or is it?

Please join the conversation.

 


Author: By Elliot Wreh-Wilson is a professor at William V.S. Tubman University in Harper, LIBERIA. He can be reached at: dewrehwilson@gmail.com

martin scott
Doc, we only need 2 simple steps to reform the Liberian Schools:

Step 1...Abolish our US$80 million Ministry of Education altogether, and use that money to help poor parents who want to take their kids out of poor performing government schools!

Step 2: Pass a law stating that “The state shall protect freedom of educational choice of a pupil and a parent…The state shall finance education of a pupil from the central budget by a voucher and every parent has a right to get a voucher for financing the education of a child who reaches school age.”

The voucher will allow poor parents to opt out of our rotten government schools!

The time has come for poor parents to have school choice too!

martin scott at 08:44PM, 2015/12/16.
Alex Garway
Martin, you see what your opium-smoking habits at Carrol High, and your toi much liquor consumption on your adult life have done to you? Here we are discussing solutions to having out students think critically in such subjects as math, science, reading, etc., AND YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT INDIVIDUAL CHOICE OF SCHOOL AND ABOLISHING THE VERY INSTITUTION VIA WHICH THE REQUIRED PROJECTION AND RECONSTRUCTION SHALL BE CARRIED OUT!

MY FRIEND THIS CONVERSATION IS ABOUT STUDENTS drawing on knowledge and be able to attain world problems solving skills thereby preparing them for the global knowledge of the 21st century!
Alex Garway at 03:20AM, 2015/12/17.
martin scott
Alex, I know you snort cocaine (heh, heh, heh). But your years in government schools did a lot more damage to you than the cocaine you're snorting! Today, You still can't READ!

Here we are talking about "reforming Liberian schools" (look at the heading of Dr. Wreh-Wilson's piece) and YOU are unable to connect the dots to school choice and the abolition of the Ministry of Education.

Let me explain HOW school choice and abolishing the Ministry of Education (MOE) can prepare Liberian students to " attain world problems solving skills thereby preparing them for the global knowledge of the 21st century!"

First, the dictionary definition of the word "reform" means to "change something in order to improve it"..In other words, to IMPROVE the education standard of Liberian students, I'm suggesting that we abolish MOE..Why? Because, for more than 150 years, MOE have NOTHING to improve government schools! It's the same old, same old for every regime! To KEEP expecting these people (MOE) improve our schools is total stupidity!

Second, the educational voucher from the government will allow poor parents to shop around for a private school that will best suit their children. Hey, most illiterate parents (with common sense) ALREADY know that private schools are far superior to public schools.

But if any parent wants to keep his or her child in government school, that's fine. But at least, they NOW have a school choice!

Consumer choice and competition provide the engine that fuels change in our economy. Look at the cell phone industry in Liberia! Because of choice and competition, 1 in every 4 Liberian can afford a cell phone!

If you want to improve Liberian Schools, you have to accept this basic economic fact: Consumer (parents) choice lifts all boats!!!
martin scott at 07:51PM, 2015/12/17.
Kou Gontee
Mr. Martin Scott,DON´T WE HAVE CHOICE OF SCHOOL IN LIBERIA? WE DO!

YOU ARE ACTUALLY OUT OF SYNC REGARDING THE SUBJECT MATTER AND THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM - AN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN A MESS!

WHAT DOES CHOICE OF SCHOOL HAS DO TO WITH REFORMING A NATION´S SCHOOL SYSTEM? NOTHING!

Reforming schools is far far far different from choice of school!

How on earth can you agree with the fact that the heading is "reforming Liberian schools" but at the same time base your VERY SILLY PREMISE on "choice of school"; as if people do not have the freedom of choice of school in Liberia as other parts of the world!

It is better you stay away from a given topic when or if you do not have anything to contribute as is the case regarding the reformation of our school system!

Kou Gontee at 04:20AM, 2015/12/18.
Yini Guva A. Sahn
Dr. Wilson's points are to the point. He has been in the system in Liberia and knows exactly what he is talking about. How can we as Liberians help?

I am in technology and would like to see computers in classrooms in Liberia. From now on, every school built must have a computer lab. The computer lab idea will help students who might not initially afford laptops. Time should be set aside for students to visit the lab daily. We are far behind in everything in Liberia. Liberians are known for critiquing every good idea. No wonder people refer to us as motor-mouths and unproductive fast talking people. We need to park the too much "for-nothing talk" and help our country. I am on board with your ideas Dr. Wilson.
Yini Guva A. Sahn at 06:22AM, 2015/12/18.
martin scott
Kou Goatee--of course we DO have school choice in Liberia!.

But school choice is limited to those who can afford it! I got a superior Catholic education because my parents could afford to send me to Catholic Schools in Liberia!

But a lot of poor parents (with a few exceptions) can NOT afford to send their children to parochial schools or private schools thus committing them to poor performing government schools!

And we all know that the government have done a terrible job of educating our children. For the last 150 years, our government schools, staff by and run by the Ministry of Educational Malpractice (MOE), have been a total disaster!

How about trying something different from the same old crap (top down solutions from MOE) to reform our education system??

I suggest school choice. That means abolishing our US$80 million Ministry of Education altogether, and use that money to help poor parents who want to take their kids out of poor performing government schools!

So how does school choice reform our school system?? Follow the bouncing ball: From school choice to competition to reform (improvement in math, science and language arts!) in Liberian schools!

Step #1: School choice will allow poor parents to take advantage of the opportunity to send their children to private schools with an educational voucher!

Step #2:School choice creates (more) competition. And competition and choice are the engine that will fuel the change (improvement in math, science and language scores!) in our education system!

So, I have a question for you, Kou: How many more years do YOU want to give MOE to "reform" or fix our educational system that's "in a mess"?

Do you have anymore top down solutions that they haven't tried before?? I'm dying to hear from you. I want to hear some of your SMART solutions to "reform Liberian schools"
martin scott at 02:06PM, 2015/12/19.
Garsuah Gborvlehn
Martin Scott, commonsense or logic calls for erecting better classrooms, good books, qualified teachers and school administrators in both public and private schools - a lasting and durable solution to the problem. Your idea of "choice and competition" viz the problem and its CONTEXT is REMOTE, USELESS, AND SENSELESS. Please tell us why your suggestions are not used in any WAEC countries or anywhere on the continent. Martin, this issue IS NOT one of those in which your stupidity may be seen as a jest.
Garsuah Gborvlehn at 02:23PM, 2015/12/20.
martin scott
Garsuah, you're a government school idiot! I'm tempted to make fun of your economic illiteracy (choice and competition), but as you can see, I've decided to ask you some serious questions:

#1)If "common sense or logic calls for erecting better classroom, better books, qualified teachers and school administrator"--how come the so-called educational experts (with masters and Phd's degrees) at the Ministry of education (MOE) are NOT doing what you're suggesting?

#2) Why is it taking more than 150 years for the experts at Ministry of Education to realized that "erecting better classroom, better books, qualified teachers and school administrator" are the common sense or logical way" to reform Liberian schools?

#3) How long will it take for the experts at the Ministry of Education to realize that private and parochial schools in Liberia ALWAYS outperform 90 percent of the government school in WAEC exams?? Hey, aren't these people experts in education??

#4) How about giving the amateurs aka poor parents an educational voucher (school choice)to take their children out of our poor performing government schools?

#5)Here in America, it's very common for ordinary parents, with no training in education (no master's or Phd degree in education), to home school their children and consistently produce better academic results than those of children educated by teachers with Master's degrees and Phd's in government schools! So why are you blaming the lack of "qualified teachers" for the poor performance of our government schools??

#6) How long will YOU and the Ministry of Education play the blame game (lack of better books, lack of better classroom, lack of better teachers, etc) for the poor performance of government schools in Liberia? Another 150 years?

#7)Here's your answer your question about SCHOOL CHOICE on the African Continent: (taken from the "Mevlana International Journal of Education)

School choice in South Africa has accorded the majority of middle class black African parents an exit option away from many historically black African schools. This has been one of education’s major developments in post-Apartheid South Africa. Dissatisfied with under-performing historically black African schools in the townships, these parents choose what they regard to be effective schools, mostly situated outside the townships. The paradox and disadvantage of the flight from the township schools though, is that many of these schools are left with dwindling quality. Yet the majority of black African working class children with few or no choices are still trapped in many under performing township schools......
martin scott at 05:49PM, 2015/12/20.
martin scott
Hey Garsuah Neegee Gborvlehn aka Martin Kollie's press secretary---I'm dying to hear from you: Can you tell me where in the Perspective's interview that proves to YOU that Mr. William Hanson is the same as Jones Nhinson Williams?? Or do you have a cranial rectal inversion (your head up your arse!) problem??
martin scott at 05:58PM, 2015/12/20.
Garsuah Gborvlehn
Martin Scott, the problem IS NOT s 150 year old problem. This problem has been the result of the war and bad governance. Your pretense about Jones Nhonson Williams aka William Hanson IS SIMPLY A DISPLAY OF THE DULLARD YOU ARE. WHAT PROVES THIS IS THE IMPOSSIBILITY TO POINT OUT A SINGLE WARC COUNTRY IN WHICH YOUR STUPIDITY IS FOUND!
Garsuah Gborvlehn at 10:32PM, 2015/12/20.
Garsuah Gborvlehn
Little Martin, YOUR MOTHER has a "cranial rectal inversion (her head up her arse)illment. And this is why your father told his drinking buddies in Yekepa that your paternity, by him, as claimed by your mother,is doubtful by him.
Garsuah Gborvlehn at 04:55AM, 2015/12/21.
Kou Gontee
Martin Scott, South Africa was an apartheid state. Besides, the scheme still keeps the lower class out of certain schools, since in fact, the finance given parents is on credit.
Kou Gontee at 05:28AM, 2015/12/21.
martin scott
Garsuah Neegee Gborvlehn! You ask me to tell you why school choice and competition "are not used in any WAEC countries OR anywhere on the continent"...

In response, I sent you an excerpt from the "Mevlana International Journal of Education" that showed how SCHOOL CHOICE have given majority of the middle class black parents an option out of under-performing historically black African schools!--AND now you want me "TO POINT OUT A SINGLE WAEC COUNTRY IN WHICH YOUR STUPIDITY IS FOUND!"??? Come on now.

So are you telling me that the millions of people (parents and students) in South Africa, who are benefiting from SCHOOL CHOICE are STUPID? The last time I checked South Africa was far more DEVELOPED than any WAEC country!

Maybe it's time for WAEC countries, especially Liberia, to decide whether their tax dollars (US$80 million spent on government education)would be BETTER spent on SCHOOL CHOICE (giving an educational voucher to poor parents) than spending it on building government schools, buying better textbooks, and paying for teacher training programs!! Wouldn't school choice be a viable option than blaming the "war and bad governance"??

Also, I ask you to show where in the Perspective's interview that proves to YOU that Mr. William Hanson is the same as Jones Nhinson Williams---AND your response is " (mine) pretense about Jones Nhonson Williams aka William Hanson IS SIMPLY A DISPLAY OF THE DULLARD YOU ARE".. Is that the most erudite statement you can come up with to prove that Mr. William Hanson is the same as Jones Nhinson Williams???

Come on now--do you think using big words (dullard) constitutes a
counterargument or a response to serious questions? Or are you an illiterate imbecile?? I believe the latter is true!


martin scott at 10:35AM, 2015/12/21.
Kpanneh Doe
Professor Wreh_Wilson, thanks for initiating this conversation on school reforms, specifically, public education reform. I hope as many can participate and share their thoughts on what I consider fundamental to our very existence as a society. If there is no other sector that should claim our attention, prioritizing education should be fundamental to everything we do. It is the glue that would sustain our society. More so, focusing attention on Liberian children who represents the future, should summon the attention of all--policymakers and citizens alike. These Five easy steps outlined are necessary and provide a good beginning, but by themselves, are insufficient in addressing the very deep social, structural problems that are embedded in a much deeper societal problem. What you have outlined in these steps boils down to the following: Creating a conducive learning environment for children, developing appropriate and workable learning strategies, funding education, and making teaching an attractive profession that can draw the best and the brightest. The metrics on these are lacking, so even if there is progress being made, we have no way of knowing as the MOE reports leave much to be desired. With that said, let me offer an additional perspective on how we should approach school reform:
1.We should first define our 'Philosophy of Education' [You are perhaps one of Liberia's highly-trained academic philosophers, PhD, and you probably can tell us best if we have one]. For example, what is the societal purpose of education about? What should education be about? Should we be about educating young men and women for public service and the common good rooted in building an egalitarian society? Or should be about educating young men and women for public service that erects social barriers for the underprivileged and marginalized--creating an elitist society? We need a clarity of purpose, otherwise even if we throw all the resources to education as is evident in a technocratic approach, our education will have no real meaning or value. This is why in the last few years we have had so many Task Forces and Special Commissions set up to address the so-called educational "mess", yet we are left with no productive results. Hortatory declarations and hot air rhetoric about children coming from the imperial leader and policy makers, have also been just that: falling on deaf ears.

We probably need to look at and take a page from the American educational lexicon and construct a philosophy that says we should "LEAVE NO LIBERIAN CHILD BEHIND", Not one. Because any Liberian child left behind has in fact been murdered by policymakers. As it is, we have committed both the sins of commission and omission with how we have treated Liberian children. Our policymakers have failed us and should be ashamed of themselves! The emerging demographic change and potentially explosive population growth could well leave us with a generation of illiterates and misfits. This is a rather scary thought, and calls for urgent action before it gets too late.

2. We need to restructure the current school system along 3 Tracks. The tracks should include the following:: A general Education Track, a Vocational/Technical Track, and a College/STEM Track. The rationale here is that much of the theories of learning and education, suggest that students learn at different levels. There are kids with stronger verbal abilities, while others have stronger mathematical-science know-how abilities. The current archaic system we have of lumping all these students together absolutely makes no sense. We should begin the tracking system early, by 7TH Grade. It is so easy to see why the country has more people trained in the Liberal Arts-- political Science, sociology,etc. than we have people trained in chemistry, physics, Math, engineering, Medecine, etc. We now have more stupid politicians that are not contributing to the productivity of the society.

3. We need to have a Common Core curriculum in which the children of Grand Kru County will be learning from the same books as the children of Lofa county, Nimba County, Bong County, Maryland County, etc.

4. We need to establish a 'Citizens' Teachers Volunteer Corps' where every Liberian with a high school degree will volunteer 50-60 hours a year to teach in a Liberian classroom or volunteer with an Adult Literacy program. It should begin with the educational leaders at the MOE sitting at their desks doing nothing. We could wipe out illiteracy in the space of 3-4years.

5. We need to create a learning environment that fosters higher expectations and academic rigor. If we truly want to eliminate mediocrity and establish standards for educational excellence, we should develop a quality curriculum that encourages students to Read. There No reason why a child shouldn't have read 50 books by the time they reach 6th grade; 150 books by 9th grade; and 300 books by 12th grade or before graduating from high school. Our children have these abilities, but we have to raise the expectations higher. We cannot afford to have a generation in the next 10-20 years who cannot read, speak, write, and count.

6. We need to extend the School Days, and adapt some elements of the Asian or Chinese Model to our particular situation. Our children should be attending school all year-round. We cannot afford the luxury of an extended Break or Vacation time, when Liberian children practically lose whatever knowledge they have acquired. Children in their primary years should have nothing else to worry about, but to study and learn. The learning time lost during the Ebola crisis is sufficient reason to rethink the learning concept of School days.

If time permits,in another post, I will deal with the issue of 'School Choice" and School Funding that my big brother, fellow Liberian-Georgian, and Catholic-trained colleague, the right-wing arch conservative Martin Scott, has raised. It would surprise him to know that I agree with his broad perspective on school choice, but from a different angle. He knows we never agree on anything at all. For a minute, can we just stop the personal attacks and focus on this very important topic that is at hand!
Kpanneh Doe at 02:03PM, 2015/12/21.
Garsuah Gborvlehn
No wonder he (Martin Scott) is been so silly to deny Jones Nhonson Williams is aka THE WAR CRIMINAL WILLIAM HANSON. The fool os behaving as a press secretary for his felloe catholic trained Jones Williams ska Eilliam Hanson while senselessly calling another a press secretary for somrone who lade possible the exposure of the criminsl, fraudulent, and disgraceful behavior of the HYPOCRITE JONES NHONSPN WILLIAMS SKA WILLIAM HANSON THE LURD ESRLORD SND WAR CRIMINAL!

Thank you Mr. Doe for havong us see why Martin Scott has foolishly decided to unsuccesfully conceal the widely and suthentic fact that Jones Nhinson Williams IS AKA WILLIAM HANSON.

In the case of teforming our schools, we like to re-emphasize thst CONTEXT MSTTERS! MEANING, THE VOUCHER SYSTEM SHALL BIRTH AND INSTITUTIOLIZZE SEGRAGATION, DUMP PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SND INTER ALIA LEAVE MAJORITY OF OUR CHILDREN OR STUDENTS BEHIND, SINCE IN FACT THE MAJORITY CANNOT SFFORD SUCH! AND THIS IS WHY AFTER A RIGORPUS RESEARCH, WARC COUNTRIES TRASHED THAT DOOMED SHORTSIGHTEDNESS!
Garsuah Gborvlehn at 03:18PM, 2015/12/21.
martin scott
GARSUAH Ninny GBORVLEHN, for once, can you put together a coherent line of thought or reasoning?? Oh wait, I forgot: you went to government school..!

Back to the topic:

Just because Jones Nhinson Williams and I went to Catholic Schools does that mean that I'm denying the "widely and authentic fact that Jones Nhinson Williams IS AKA WILLIAM HANSON"???

Is that your reasoning?? In other words, let X = martin and y = nhinson
and if X and Y attended Catholic Schools Therefore X (martin) must denied the assertion Y (nhinson) is the same as WILLIAM HANSON senior spokesman for LURD!!!

I have to suppress the laughter here.. but i forgive you because of your tribal mindset (neegee bassa) and your government school education! That's why I support school choice to help people like you improve your critical thinking skills!

Since you CANNOT provide proof that Jones Nhinson Williams is the same as WILLIAM HANSON", you changed the subject to me denying the "widely and authentic fact that Jones Nhinson Williams IS AKA WILLIAM HANSON"

For you info, I DON"T know who Jones Nhinson Williams or WILLIAM HANSON is (except from reading Nhinson's postings on this website) NOR I've EVER met Mr.Jones Nhinson Williams or Mr. WILLIAM HANSON or know which Catholic School he attended!

BUT I'm still waiting for YOUR "widely and authentic fact that Jones Nhinson Williams IS AKA WILLIAM HANSON" for purely intellectual purpose!
martin scott at 01:00AM, 2015/12/22.
Garsuah Gborvlehn
The topic IS NOT about William Hanson aka Jones Nhinson Williams the war criminal who has now been exposed arter years of lying about his true identity. The topic IS ABOUT reforming Liberian schools. Your silly thought about "voucher for school choice" is a doomed shortsightedness which does not take CONTEXT into account. Again, your voucher nonsense is bound to alienate and disadvantage the majority of Liberian kids especially in the rural areas while finally destroying what little is left of public schools. This in itself is a design for the latent institutionalization of segregation and the destruction of Liberian schools in totality, since in fact such a doomed shortsightedness and unscientific thinking of yours are detrimental to the reformation of schools in Liberia.
Garsuah Gborvlehn at 05:28AM, 2015/12/22.
martin scott
GARSUAH Ninny GBORVLEHN, I am NOT going to waste anymore time exposing your poor reasoning skills! Why? Because "new" research shows that people with poor reasoning skills like you, are same who bounce checks monthly, drink cane juice daily, and engage in ritualistic behavior yearly (member of the neegee bassa society in Gbenzon!)!

On top of that, the poor quality of education (government schools) you've been subjected to all these years, makes it hard for you to understand basic economic concepts OR put together a coherent line of thought or reasoning!

So there's no point in debating with you whether or not our tax dollars (US$80 million education budget) would be BETTER spent on SCHOOL CHOICE (giving an educational voucher to poor parents) THAN spending it on building more government schools, hiring qualified teachers or making class size smaller to improve Liberian school students!! I've reached wit's end, I rest my case, bro!
martin scott at 11:06PM, 2015/12/22.
Garsuah Gborvlehn
Martin, as we informed you earlier on, Youngman: this topic or issue IS ABSOLUTELY NOT one of those in which your stupidity seen as a jest is not reacted to, and so you ignorantly believe your "very silly premise" if we may quote another writer trashing your insanity.
Garsuah Gborvlehn at 05:30AM, 2015/12/23.
Dempster Yallah
With this level of garbage posted here, yetam barred from posting here and simply for calling the bluff of one of you? So much for freedom of speech? Let me remind you and class of reprobates that you need not censure anybody here about the content of their post, simply because whatever the quality of the post directly reflects on the poster, not any others. But suit yourselves. Only don't ever speak of suppression of any other's freedom of speech in your spent lifespans.
Dempster Yallah at 12:06AM, 2015/12/27.
Kpanneh
The personal attacks, name-calling, and expletives aside, there is merit in the proposition concerning 'school choice' as articulated by Scott, and challenged by Gborvlehn. Both make some valid points which needs further elaboration. If we accept the fundamental premise that democracy is all about making choices, then it logically follows that school choice is a democratic concept and has relevance to the conversation on school reforms in Liberia. This is where I am in agreement with Mr. Scott. However, we diverge in our perspectives when it comes to how you implement or administer school choice. Here, Gborvlehn makes a valid point-critique, though without much articulation, that within our prevailing educational environment, implementation of school choice could potentially create a two-tier system, i.e., low-performing vs. high-performing school system that could further deepen the divide between the existing public and private school(my words)arrangements currently in place. In Gborvlehn's words, "the voucher system(Scott's school choice) shall birth and institutionalize segregation, dump public schools, and inter alia, leave majority of our children or students behind since in fact majority cannot afford such". There is no hard empirical evidence to validate this as it has never been tried in Liberia. But someone did mention the example of South Africa where "township" public schools are suffering this negative effect. If one were to look right here in the U.S., the trend towards the creation of 'charter' schools, is reinforcing this very divide with public schools, so one has to be very careful here.

But here is what is most important when discussing school choice: Education scholars and much of the education literature on this, suggest that school choice cannot be discussed without linking this to School Funding. What does this mean in the context of school reform? Put simply, it means that we have to understand and have a good sense of what it would COST us to provide good quality education for a Liberian child at the Primary and Secondary level. Does MOE have that kind of stats? in other words, how is our educational dollars being spent to educate a Liberian child from kindergarten to 12th grade? As Scott correctly stated, the MOE is an $80 million octopus[ I have gone back to check the budget, and there has not been any marked increase of the MOE budget in the last 7 years. The budget has only increase by $7million from its original base of $73 million]. Not surprisingly, 85% of this budget is spent on administrative costs, i.e., salaries, while only15% is spent on instructional supports to educate a Liberian child. If this is dis-aggregated or broken down further, "funding per pupil" or "funding per student", amounts to only U.S$12 that is spend on educating a Liberian child per year. Now, it does not take a Rocket Scientist to decipher where the MOE priorities lie, and by extension, the GOL.(See Continuation on next page)
Kpanneh at 10:01AM, 2015/12/28.
Kpanneh
Cont'd: Scott, therefore makes a compelling argument for dismantling this Ministry, only insofar as one cannot continue to operate the MOE this way if we wish to achieve school success. This has to change, and I agree! The CHANGE however, has to take the course of reforming--restructuring, deep institutional restructuring--that considers policies, funding, effective instructional practices and strategies, teachers' training,nutrition, and creating a culture of higher expectations and academic rigor for students. The "Voucher" idea advocated by Mr. Scott, in which he has placed an inordinate amount of faith almost religiously, is not a viable remedy just based on funding that we have discussed above. Furthermore, the attempt to introduce or graft an American idea to the Liberian educational environment as compelling as it is ignores our own societal realities characterized by poverty and inequality. The cost of educating a Liberian
child has to first be established, before even considering a variety of school choices, i.e., Home or Independent school, Online school, Thematic school, Boarding school, school of the Gifted and Talented, etc. However, none of these school choices would work in the absence of adequate funding for educating a Liberian child.

Lastly, the Liberian education system has not always been a "mess". There has been some bright spots that we can draw some important lessons from. For example, there is the 'Catholic School' model that has successfully thrive on providing quality education at very minimal or affordable cost; The "Demonstration School" model that placed emphasis on developing the whole child, using "Nutrition" as a critical element in developing a child cognitive and intellectual gifts, and having a core of committed teachers, especially women who provided the full nurturing of the child (As a product of Monrovia Demonstration School on Clay Street, I can attest to this...I can never forget the likes of Mrs.Rebecca Ware Wilson, Mrs. Sarah Sawyer, Cecelia Gibson, Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. Reeves, and many others who dedicated their lives to education, and the impact they had on our lives and many others). It is important to also re-evaluate the Monrovia Consolidated School System(MCSS) model to assess its strengths and weaknesses, and determine how it can be made more functional and replicated, as James Thomas has proposed. This system has been with us for more than 35 years, but I am not aware of any evaluation that has been conducted of it.

As I stated in my previous post, the way forward for reforming the public school system in the future has to begin with the establishment of a 3-track system: General Education, Vocational/Technical Education, and College/STEM Education. With time, perhaps, over a 3-5 year period, other school choices or models can be gradually introduced. There is no one-size fits all, but the 3-track is proven and tested and rooted in the theories of learning and education. Education has never been given public policy priority in Liberia as fundamental as it is to our overall progress as a country.
Those seeking public office has to make this a priority if they are worth any salt.
Kpanneh at 11:01AM, 2015/12/28.
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