Throughout 2013, the Department of General Education & Ministry (DGEM) served as a liaison between the local United Methodist School boards and the Board of General Education and between the Ministry of Education and the United Methodist Schools (UMS). DGEM was involved in many activities including monitoring and supervision of schools, distribution of donated supplies, and coordination of teacher training.
Number of Schools: During the 2013/2014 school year there are:
- 18 United Methodist high schools,
- 22 junior high schools and
- 16 elementary schools that are functioning. See attached chart.
- General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) Advance Gifts 2013:
- “Swords Turned into Plowshares” Advance # 14488A received US$1,300 for Vocational Training.
- “Construction of New School Buildings” Advance #3030670 received US$5,018.73.
- “Scholarships for Elementary, Secondary, College & Seminary Education” Advance #15125B received $73,410.04. This includes US $29,000 in gifts that were sent through the Advance but not for our Scholarship Project.
- “Sheltering the Children of John Dean Town” Advance #3021654 is a new project to raise funds to build dormitories for students at the Gretta Moffat UMS in St. John River District. This Advance # received US$18,282.40 of which US$15,144 was sent by the St. Pauls’ UMC in Tucson, Arizona for salaries for the clinic and Gretta Moffat UMS.
- World Day of Prayer Sweden Scholarship: This non-denominational program offers scholarships to female students attending post-high school educational programs. Four applicants from the Liberia Annual Conference were each awarded scholarships for the 2013/2014 school year, totaling US$1,124.23 minus $44.96 for bank fees. UMC Sweden donated US$10,500 for Hope for the Deaf UMS (minus bank fees).
- Equmeniakyrkan, the new church in Sweden, continues to send funds three times a year for Hope for the Deaf.
- Central Church Oslo, Norway sent US$20,000 for salaries for Zacchaeus Garjay United Methodist School in St. John River District through DGEM. US $19,672.87 was received after bank charges.
- First United Methodist Church, Escanaba, Michigan contributed US$2,430 for teacher salaries at Samuel Ziah UMS in Rivercess District and US$25 to build desks for the school.
- Ministry of Education (MoE) Subsidy: US$30,000 was allocated to the United Methodist Educational System in MoE’s budget for the fiscal year from July 2012 through June 2013. This subsidy was used for staff salary support, printing, bank charges, replacement of the roof of Anna E. Hall UMS in Garraway Beach, Garraway District, Grand Kru County and partial payment of a used pick-up truck. The truck cost US$12,200.00. US$10,000 was from the MoE subsidy and the balance US$2,200.00 came from our United Methodist Schools.
- C. W. Duncan UMS: Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue of the Detroit Annual Conference gave US $1,500 for scholarship payment for ten students. The funds were for the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 Academic Years.
- Jessica Arnold of the Detroit Annual Conference initiated a scholarship program and the C. W. Duncan UMS Foundation. The school received US$3,550 through the Foundation.
- Ganta UMS: In August 2013, the school renovated the top floor of the Hartzell building on the Ganta UMS campus to house a bookstore for books donated by the Ganta UMS Alumni Association in the United States. The Ganta Alumni Association in the U.S. sent US$2,500 for the renovation.
Donation of Supplies:
Ganta UMS: Ganta UMS received a container of books from GUMS Alumni Association in February 2013.
New Hope United Methodist Women UMS: Zoe Hicks came with members of the Oak Ridge United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, USA (March 29 to April 13, 2013) to interact with the students and help make a basketball court. They also sent back packs for the students.
Holston Conference shipped a container of donated food, health and school supplies to the Department of General Education and Ministry. Supplies were given to staff of the Liberia Annual Conference, 22 United Methodist Schools, the Ministry to the Aging and 5 orphanage homes.
Samuel Ziah UMS: First United Methodist Church, Escanaba, Michigan sent 16 boxes of school supplies through Operation Classroom.
West Africa Examination:
Seventeen United Methodist Schools registered twelfth grade students and 25 schools registered ninth grade students for the West Africa Examination Council exam given in May 2013. 9 of the 100 students in Liberia who scored in Division 2 on the WAEC exam were from United Methodist High Schools- Bishop Arthur F. Kulah UMS (1), College of West Africa (2), Henri Dennis UMS (2), J. J. Roberts UMS (3) and Tubman-Gray UMS (1).
Teacher Training: In January 2013, Laurie Fuller and Linda Decker from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference conducted training at the Evelyn S. Chapman UMS in New Georgia Estate, Monrovia District.
On February 4-8, 2013, Dr. Teresa Purse and Ginny Logan, from the East Ohio Conference conducted training for teachers at J. F. Yancy UMS on our Camphor Mission Station (St. John River District).
Kevin Schaner, a librarian from the East Ohio Conference, conducted library training for 10 UMS teachers in Gompa District. The training was held at the Ganta UMS on March 7 and 8, 2013.
Dr. Robert Melosh and Dr. Geraldine Melosh, returned to Monrovia to lead the Liberia Reads! training. The Kindergarten, first, second and third grade teachers and principal from John Kofi Asmah UMS participated in 72 hours of Liberia Reads! training held at Stella Maris Polytechnic in Monrovia from July 4 to 20, 2013. John Kofi Asmah is the fourth United Methodist School to use the Liberia Reads! reading program. Our other schools are Ganta UMS (Gompa District), I. J. Williams UMS (Kakata-Farmington River District), and C. W. Duncan UMS (Monrovia District).
Four teachers from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, Taryn Flake, Carol Sims, Neysa Downs and Renee Lofgren, shared activities for math, science, reading and classroom management in a workshop for 20 elementary school teachers from Gompa District at Ganta UMS on July 22-25, 2013 and for 20 teachers from Monrovia and Kakata-Farmington River Districts at the J. L. Morris UMS in Paynesville on July 29 and 30, 2013.
Rev. John Nyewan (Principal, Trinity UMS, Monrovia District), Juliette Jonah (Vice Principal, Henri Wilmot Dennis UMS, Monrovia District) and the DGEM Director participated in the Ministry of Education’s training on the Early Childhood Development Policy and Curriculum at J. J. Roberts UMS in Sinkor, Monrovia District on July 16-20, 2013. Professors from the University of District of Columbia and Bank Street College of Education in New York City led the training along with Ministry of Education staff. Rev. John Nyewan was invited by the Ministry of Education to participate in a study tour entitled “Creating World-Class Educators for Liberia” in New York City and Washington DC from November 6 to 26, 2013.
S. Augustine Yeahgar, Director of Liberal Arts and Teachers Education at the Grand Bassa Community College facilitated a workshop on classroom management, lesson planning, and teaching reading and English. The Tecumseh UMC in the Detroit Annual Conference donated US$647.00 for this workshop held at W. P. L. Brumskine UMS in Buchanan, Grand Bassa District on August 19-21, 2013. Thirty teachers from 7 schools in St. John River and Grand Bassa Districts participated.
School Construction Projects:
- Quest United Methodist School opened in September 2013 as a junior high school. This school in Cotton Tree, Kakata-Farmington River District is named after the Quest UMC in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference (IGRC) in honor of the continued support Quest UMC gives to the Kakata-Farmington River District. Funding for construction came from members of the IGRC.
- Evelyn S. Chapman UMS: US$1,100.00 from The Advance for Construction of New School Buildings was given to the Evelyn S. Chapman UMS to begin constructing a lavatory, and the Vacation Bible School at First UMC Ann Arbor in the Detroit Annual Conference raised US$2,393.73 for the project.
- New Hope Academy: In February 2013, Bishop Bennie D. Warner and a team of 11 volunteers from the Oklahoma Conference worked at the project site of the New Hope Academy in Margibi County (Kakata-Farmington River District).
Volunteers In Mission:
- Minnesota Operation Classroom Work Team: Rev. Linda Koelman, Rev. Donna Dempiwolf and Wayne and Nancy Dunbar painted the high school building of the J. L. Morris UMS in Paynesville, Monrovia District from October 14-27, 2013.
- East Ohio Conference Work Teams: In February 2013, team members painted the classrooms at the J. F. Yancy UMS (Camphor Mission), St. John River District. Janet Kleckner and Stanley Wertz volunteered at the J. F. Yancy UMS from October 15-26, 2013. Stanley Wertz is a 4-H Club Advisor and worked with the 4-H agriculture project at the school. Janet and Stanley also helped in the classrooms and supervised afterschool activities.
Tubman-Gray UMS Memorandum of Understanding: The school board of the Tubman-Gray UMS, Gbarnga District signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bong County Technical Community College. The college will use the school campus to hold classes in the afternoons and has made improvements on the campus including painting the buildings and providing electricity and a computer lab.
Annual Conference in Sweden: The Mission Covenant Church, Baptist Church and The United Methodist Church in Sweden merged in 2012 as Joint Future. The Director attended the Annual Conference for Joint Future from May 9-13, 2013. The UMC of Sweden held its last session of its own separate Annual Conference and Joint Future voted on Equmeniakyrkan (Ecumenical Church) as the new name for this merger.
4-H Liberia: 4-H Clubs have been established at the Anderson-Weamah UMS, Janice Lee McLain UMS, Harriette E. Bailey, Cestos UMS, Ganta UMS, Tubman-Gray UMS, W.P.L.Brumskine UMS, and J. F. Yancy UMS.
4-H Liberia has a partnership with the World Food Program (WFP) to establish school garden clubs at 150 schools in 10 counties that receive WFP rations. J. C. Early, Cestos, and J. J. Dickson UMS had WFP School Garden Clubs in 2013.
Agricorps trained the 4-H Liberia field officers and those who volunteer with 4-H Clubs on September 2-5, 2013 at the S. Edward Peale Center.
Liberia Career Pathways: Mr. Mike Massie of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is involved in the Illinois Pathways (education leading to marketable careers). He and a team from Illinois facilitated a planning retreat in Monrovia on April 24, 2013. The mission of the Liberia Career Pathways is “to empower and support Liberian learners to progress through and transition from high quality education and training experiences into rewarding careers for Liberia’s economic growth.”
Liberia Partner’s Summit: The Director was invited by the Detroit Annual Conference to attend the Liberia Partners Summit held in Alton, Illinois on November 21 and 22, 2013. The Director made presentations and led small group discussions on The Advance for scholarships and 4-H Liberia.
- Due to low enrollment, nonpayment of tuition, low tuition, and/or lack of external support many schools do not have sufficient funds to pay teachers or buy supplies.
- Qualified teachers are leaving UM Schools to teach at government schools in order to receive higher pay.
- All of our schools are facing financial difficulties which negatively impact the quality of education because schools charge what they think students can afford, rather than assessing the cost of quality education.
- Need for Christian Ed. books, science laboratories and libraries at all of our high schools.
- Operational funds for DGEM were included in the LAC 2013 budget but not received.
Necrology: Michael Teawah Nyanti served as principal of the Tailor Town UMS for 32 years. He died on July 1, 2013. The Liberia Annual Conference was also saddened by the death of Zaw-Dioh Weah, our Associate Director for Supervision. Mr. Weah died on October 15, 2013.
We are very appreciative of the support that our schools received from the Liberia Annual Conference and United Methodist Conferences in the United States, Norway and Sweden, and from the Ministry of Education. We are also thankful for the support and cooperative working relationship of the DGEM staff, UMS staff and local school board members, the members of the Board of General Education, the District Superintendents and Bishop John G. Innis.
Respectfully submitted by: Helen Roberts-Evans, Director/DGEM
Approved: Bro. Christopher Sawboh, Board Chairman/BGE