Liberia: Ministry of Education Prematurely Closes All Public Schools ahead of Teachers’ Go-Slow

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Minister of Education, Prof. Ansu Konneh

Monrovia – The Ministry of Education has ordered all public schools closed, a directive that comes a week ahead of the originally scheduled closing date.

The Ministry stated in a press release over the weekend that its decision is based on the go-slow action announced by the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) and the Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers Association. The go-slow action is expected to begin on December 16, 2019.

According to the Education Ministry, the early closure is in the best interest of the students as it would keep them safe while their teachers embark on the stay-home action.

“The Ministry of Education in protection of the interest of students and children who will be affected adversely by the teachers’ stay away action and who shall be at most risk in the event of any unforeseen situations counterproductive to peace, and being concerned for their wellbeing in any such circumstance, have, in consultation with people of similar interest, resolved to close all public schools across the Republic of Liberia as of Friday, December 13, 2019,” the ministry’s press release stated.

The Consortium of Civil Servants of Liberia last Thursday announced that they are set to go on a nation-wide stay-home action across the 15 counties beginning Monday, December 16.

“The Ministry of Education in protection of the interest of students and children who will be affected adversely by the teachers’ stay away action and who shall be at most risk in the event of any unforeseen situations counterproductive to peace, and being concerned for their wellbeing in any such circumstance, have, in consultation with people of similar interest, resolved to close all public schools across the Republic of Liberia as of Friday, December 13, 2019.”

– Press Statement, Ministry of Education

The Consortium comprises of six public sector groupings including, National Teachers Association of Liberia, National Health Workers Union of Liberia, Monrovia Consolidated Schools System Teachers’ Association, Supplementary Teachers’ Association of Liberia, Civil Servants Union of Liberia and the Liberia Labor Congress. 

The leadership of the Consortium on Thursday after a meeting, which was attended by the Minister of Education along with some of his senior officials and representations from other ministries, including Finance and Development Planning, Justice and Information, announced that they were not going to reverse on their decision of calling off their stay-home action. Before they had read their statement to the waiting press, the Education Minister, Prof. Dr. Ansu Sonii, had literally pleaded with them to not go ahead with their decision and to forget about reading their statement. 

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