Monrovia – President George Manneh Weah has turned to Nigeria to help clean Liberia’s messy education sector with the provision of 6,000 teachers, but the Federal Republic is also grappling with the same ailment in their education sector.
In October 2017, the state of Kaduna was compelled to lay off some 21,000 primary school teachers after they all failed an exam intended for 6-year-old.
According to a BBC report, State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said 21,780 teachers, two-thirds of the total, had failed to score 75% or higher on assessments given to pupils.
He said 25,000 new teachers would be recruited to replace them.
Mr El-Rufai made the comments at a meeting with World Bank representatives in the state capital, Kaduna.
“The hiring of teachers in the past was politicized and we intend to change that by bringing in young and qualified primary school teachers to restore the dignity of education in the state.”
The Federal Republic, according to reports, has also been struggling with improving the teacher to student ratio and was finding means of hiring more trained teachers to beef up the ratio.
Many Liberians have hailed President Weah for his SOS call on Nigeria for the revamping of the education sector.
However, the President of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), Madam Mary Mulbah-Nyumah told FrontPageAfrica via mobile phone late Monday evening that the news of the President’s request came as a surprise to her.
“We met with him before and we never got anything like that from him; so we don’t know where that decision came from,” she said.
Though she said she could not comment in detail on the President’s request for teachers from Nigeria, she told this paper that the NTAL and other stakeholders have been meeting with President Weah and the Ministry of Education and have laid before the Ministry their own challenges, needs, and possible solution to the problems impeding the development and improvement of the education sector. She noted that at no point in any of their conversations was it ever mentioned or discussed that teachers should be recruited from Nigeria.
Madam Mubah-Nyumah, however, said looking at the Ministry of Education’s own target of one teacher to 50 students, there would be the need for the recruitment of more teachers.
She said, Liberia currently has an estimated number of 45,000 teachers within both the private and public sectors.
Speaking to journalists after his meeting with Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari. President Weah identified some of the urgent problems facing his country as youth unemployment, as well as the need to revive the education, agriculture, mining and health sectors.
“Your sustained technical assistance for capacity building in these sectors is most welcome.
For example, Nigerian teachers and medical volunteers to Liberia, under the Technical Assistance Corps TAC) Agreement with Liberia, have been very crucial in boosting capacity development in Liberia, and it is my hope that this assistance can be considerably increased to address with urgency our most pressing socio-economic needs at this time.
“More specifically, under the Bilateral Teacher Exchange programme, we are seeking 6,000 plus teachers to make up for the shortage of good teachers in our educational system,” he said.
President Weah thanked his Nigerian counterpart, Buhari, for the invitation extended him. He said his delegation was on a mission of gratitude and respect for the extraordinary and exceptional role that Nigeria has played in keeping the West African region sub-region stable and peaceful.
“Our people have voted for change, and for hope. And change is finally here. But mere political change is meaningless without development, prosperity and growth”, President Weah said.