Public School Students Want Dismissed Teachers Reinstated

Monrovia – Hundreds of students of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) Thursday took to the streets in protest for the reinstatement of their instructors who were dismissed by MCSS Superintendent, Benjamin Jacobs.

Report by Mae Azango |

The students gathered in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which currently hosts the offices of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

They held placards with the message – “We need our teachers back in the class by Monday”.

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, Arthur Sims, a student of William V.S. Tubman High School, said their instructors were dismissed by the Jacobs because they stood up against what they considered as bad leadership by the MCSS Superintendent.

“We are here because our Superintendent, Mr. Benjamin Jacobs is denying our students education. He sacked few of our instructors; we are now affected,” he said.

The Tubman High student dispelled allegation that one of his instructors, Henry Woyee, was dismissed because he was fond of going to class late and intoxicated.

According to Sims, Mr. Woyee had been committed to his teaching.

“It is a complete fallacy that our instructor is a drunk.”

“Mr. Henry Woyee is not an intoxicated person, because if he is, he would not teach us and other students the way he did that made them pass national exams,” he said.

“We are in the street to seek our interest to go back to school.”

“We are not instigated by our instructors, but these are people who have molded our minds in the past; so we just do not want any instructor but our own instructors,” Sims asserted.

Deputy Inspector General of Police for Operations, Col. Abraham Kromah, intervened in the street protest by taking the student leaders to the offices of Education Minister George Werner.

Up to press time Thursday evening, FrontPageAfrica could not ascertain the outcome of the meeting with Min. Werner.

At the protest scene, Youth & Sports Minister, Saah N’Tow told reporters he had had a meeting with Supt. Jacobs and had come to appeal with the students to refrain from the protest.

“I am just appealing to the students to really sit and see the real strong reasons to be back in class, because nobody can give better account than themselves.”

“There are parents out there who do not know that their children are out of classrooms and in the streets protesting,” he said.

The Youth & Sports Minister maintained that it was not up to the students to decide who teaches them, but the government.

“Teachers are already here,” he said.”

“There has not been a mass walk out of teachers. The responsibility of government is to provide the teachers to teach the students.

“Government’s responsibility is to vet teachers and make sure that there are qualified teachers so that even if the teacher sees one student in a class, he will teach.”

“So, if the students are saying that they do not want any other teacher besides that one teacher, then they are asking for something else, because it is not their place to tell government what they want or dictate to authority what they want.”

Min. N’Tow said Mr. Woyee was dismissed because he disrespected the members of the MCSS Council and the school authorities.

“I was not present during that meeting and I do not even know the teacher in person, but if a teacher, who is trained to mold the minds of young people will stand up and disrespect sitting authority, I would fire him myself.

“We are calling on all students to go back, because WAEC is around the corner and these are stolen days away from their learning.”

“Our young people have already been through a lot; look at the Ebola situation when the young people were not in school. Now, we they are creating situation where they will be out of school again,” the Minister averred.

But Trokon Weedor, Faculty Representative Council Chairperson of the MCSS Teachers Association Parliament and also one of the dismissed teachers insisted that he and his colleagues were fired because they questioned the credentials of Supt. Jacobs.

“I was served a dismissal letter that says we insulted the superintendent of MCSS.”

“The act that established the MCSS, Section 25 B tells you how dismissal comes about, so we advised Mr. Jacobs not to dismiss teachers without following the proper procedure. He dismissed five teachers for what he called regularly absence and frequent lateness,” Trokon explained.

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