One of the serious aftermaths of the recent Liberian Civil war is the damage caused to the education system. Public schools have become more vulnerable. A large number of trained personnel abandoned these institutions seeking greener pastures. In its desperation to address the education needs of the fast growing school-age population, the government sort of allowed the infiltration of the school system by untrained teachers. These teachers referred to as Recruited or “Replace” Teachers, are reportedly been performing rather poorly.
The result of their poor performance is manifested in the continuous mass failure of students in the annual West African Examination Council (W.A.E.C) exams. The W.A.E.C is a body set up by English speaking West African countries to help standardize the education system in these countries. The body has been expressing serious concern about the mass failure of Liberian students, especially those of public schools. In an act of improving the Education system, the government began a gradual process of laying off an unqualified teachers, and sending others for more training.
While welcoming the offer by the government; the teachers have been demanding their arrears of several months. Therefore, they have been staging series of strikes that are potentially damaging to back their demands. Not only are they demanding their arrears, they are also demanding that they be employed before going to the teachers training. On Monday the government announced that it was concluding arrangements aimed at paying the teachers’ arrears.
An announcement from the Ministries of Finance and Education set Thursday November 11 to begin disbursing salaries for these teachers. While this may have been a sigh of relief for the government; in the meanwhile, in Sinoe County 700 public school teachers are on a strike. These teachers are complaining about a deduction of three hundred Liberian dollars from their monthly salaries, without prior notice. They claimed to know nothing about the monthly deduction, so they want to know who is behind it and for what reasons.
The ordinary Liberian teacher earns an equivalent of $70 US Dollars. The three hundred Liberian Dollars deduction now being contested by these teachers in Sinoe County is an equivalent of $5. Prior to all this, strikes and threat of strikes by teachers have been going on all across the country. Public school teachers in Nimba County are also demanding an increase of their monthly salary or they too would go on a strike.