Authorities of the UMC Liberia School System have endorsed Government of Liberia pronouncement of reopening schools by February 2, 2015. The decision was reached at a well-attended meeting of UM School Principals meeting on Thursday, January 8, 2015. Leading the discussion, Rev. Sampson Nyanti, Associate Director of the Department of General Education and Ministries of UMC Liberia who also represented the church at a government stakeholders meeting said government’s quest to get the children back to school should be implemented by all principals of United Methodist Schools. “Do not compromise the issues of registration,” Rev. Nyanti emphasized.
According to UMC Liberia Education Office, school authorities are expected to make sure that all of the measures that are being implemented to ensure safety from the deadly Ebola virus are upheld. “Students should wash their hands and temperature check before going to their classes,” the office announced. On the question of how school fees will be collected from parents who are facing financial difficulties due to the Ebola crisis, the Department of General Education and Ministries said each principal should design their own method that will relief parents of the pressure school fees payment. “Remember, the government is asking all schools to institute a payment plan will divide school fees in three parts,” the department asserted.
In an interview with the President of the College of West Africa (CWA), Richard Wiah said he was happy about the government decision to reopen schools. “Ebola and money should not be used as an excuse to keep the schools closed perpetually,” he said. The CWA Boss said parents will never have all the money at any one time adding, an appeal to government for subsidies to the schools will be the best way forward. The recent Senatorial election in this country is a justification that all other activities of our national including school need to be reactivated, the CWA President added. CWA is one the expensive United Methodist High Schools in Monrovia.
Unlike the CWA, the Ganta United Methodist School in Nimba County northern Liberia is not likely going to open in keeping with government’s pronouncement. According to the Principal, Roger Swy Domah, parents of the students in his school are not ready for their children to return to school unless there is a scholarship to offset their financial situation. “We cannot afford to bring teachers and other staff to this institution when we are not sure how we are going to pay them,” the Principal said.
For their part the United Methodist University authorities have set February 15, 2015 as the date for students to return to school. The UMU is at the moment holding consultative meetings on Ebola training for their response teams for the various satellite campuses around the country. According to Rev. Dr. George K. Weagba, Vice President for Institutional Research and Development, UMU students are excited about the reopening of school. On the question of student who were about to graduate before the closure of schools, Dr. Weagba said UMU is planning to meet with them to set a date for the graduation.
“Reopening schools is better than letting our children stay home for another semester or year,” Linda Brooks, a parent said. She said government should appeal to the private institutions to put in place payment plan that will enable parents to pay their children tuition without going through too much stress. “You know we used all our money for the festive season, she added.
By Julu Swen