Former Education Ministry Official Decries Bad Treatment Under Werner

Monrovia – While it is no doubt there is the need for some reform in the sector, reports reaching FrontPage Africa reveal that authorities at the Ministry of Education under the cloak of instituting reforms are getting rid of individuals, perhaps, as a means of creating vacancies for their cronies.

Problems contributing to the messiness of Liberia’s education sector transcend beyond what occurs in the classrooms to what is actually obtaining in the government’s education regulatory institution – the Ministry of Education.

While it is no doubt there is the need for some reform in the sector, reports reaching FrontPageAfrica reveal that authorities at the Ministry of Education under the cloak of instituting reforms are getting rid of individuals, perhaps, as a means of creating vacancies for their cronies.

Some reforms being instituted by the George  Werner-led administration at the Education Ministry have met and continue meet unbending resistance from stake holders in the education sector.

Most of these stakeholders believe Werner’s reform is a camouflage of an ill-fated motive which will not bring the desired expectation in the sector.

Frequent changes at the entity is not only eroding the ministry of its institutional memory, but also contributing to the low performance in the sector.

Recent of such changes is the removal of both the Deputy and Assistant Ministers for Planning, Research and Development, Mr. Anthony Nimley and Mrs. Ann Dora Gbormie, respectively.

A FrontPageAfrica research established that these individuals contributed immensely to the development of numerous policy instruments including the Education Reform Law 2011, Education Reform Policy, Liberia Education Administrative Regulations, Operational Plan, amongst others.

They also contributed to the mobilization of funding for the Education Sector.

Based on their excellent performances during the tenure of former Ministers Othello Gongar and Etmonia Tarpeh, they were appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to lead the Education Transformation Process in 2013.

This assignment led to the development a full operation plan for the Education Sector.

Unfortunately, no resources were provided by Government to ensure its implementation.

FrontPage Africa also learned that during changes at the Ministry last year, the pair remained but did not get the cooperation of Mr. Werner and Deputy Minister Aagon F. Tingba.

According to our sources and emails in our possession, Minister Werner took all functions of the Department of Planning, Research and Development and assigned these responsibilities to other staff within his office.

It was also reported that Assistant Minister Gbormie was often called in by the Minister Werner to take on the function of her boss, but she refused on grounds that she was not in the position to neither disrespect nor undermine her boss.

Accordingly, she was resented by Minister Werner and her official vehicle was subsequently taken from her; salary was suspended for two months.

She was also reportedly banned for making both foreign and local travels.

Frantic efforts to contact Minister Werner on the removal of the two ministers did not materialize. However, the Ministry of Education Spokesman, Maxim Bleethan told FrontPageAfrica that he did not know circumstances surrounding the removal of the two ministers and could not speak to the issue until he had consulted the Minister.

But confirming our investigation, Mrs. Gbormie who had been silent about the issue told FrontPage Africa that they were poorly treated for the past one year, since the coming in of Minister Werner at the Ministry of Education.

She confirmed that her official vehicle assigned to her during the administration of Minister Tarpeh was ordered parked and was instructed to use US$7,000 to repair a damaged vehicle previously used by a former official of the Ministry.

According to her, Directors within the Bureau within which she worked were told to report directly to the office of the Minister, while consultants within the department of planning were asked to report directly to the Deputy Minister for Administration.

Mrs. Gbormie further told this paper that on many occasions, she was told to discontinue her responsibilities and partners were advised not to meet with anyone within the Department of Planning, Research and Development.

She added that no request to support the work of her department was ever approved by Deputy Minister Tingba or Minister Werner.

She thanked the President for providing her the opportunity to serve in many capacities in Government including, Assistant Minister for Regional Planning at the dissolved Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs and Assistant Minister for Planning, Research and Development at the Ministry of Education.

Lennart Dodoo – 777 788 805 | 886 33 40 65 /dodoolennart@gmail.com

Werner
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