By Stephen G. Fellajuah
In a move that will resolve the acute dearth of teachers with the public school system, the Ministry of Education has disclosed a plan to recruit close to 2,500 teachers to replace those that have been retired.
Making the disclosure Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at his Ministry of Education office in Congo Town, Deputy Education Minister for Administration, Latim Da-thong said that the new corps of teachers will be replacing the many teachers that are retiring this year. He said the process will begin with the first 1,700 applicants.
“Over 1, 700 teachers and support staff are retired that have reached the retirement age of 60 years; they have left a lot of vacuum in the system that has to be filled. We are talking about recruiting close to 2, 500 people between now and February 2021”, Deputy Minister Da-thong noted.
According to him, the Ministry of Education will be looking across all sections of the country, including teachers’ colleges and people who are graduating from universities, and those who want to teach. He furthered volunteer teachers now have the opportunity to take advantage of the process which he described as open and transparent.
Minister Da-thong averred that this will be an opportunity for the Ministry of Education to change the dynamics by properly vetting teachers before placing them into the classrooms, adding, “It is a big process that will provide a lot of opportunities for young upcoming professional educators.”
He further disclosed that the Ministry of Education is working through a committee which includes the Civil Service Agency (CSA), the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to make sure that the process affects the entire country.
“Only under extreme cases that we are going to take people from Monrovia, but we are going to take sons and daughters from the counties, who are qualified will be given first preference. We will only take people from Monrovia when there are no qualified people in the counties,” he indicated.
“Next week, the committee is going to announce the process through which people can apply. Applicants at the county level will take their applications to the county’s education office. We are going to commiserate your qualification to the subject you are going to teach,” Mr. Da-thong stated.
According to the Deputy Education Minister, applicants who are professionals but do not have the teacher’s training will be trained to enter into the teaching profession, indicating that the Education Ministry’s plan is to professionalize education, like other professions. He stressed that there will come a time where every teacher will have to obtain a valid teaching license before teaching in Liberia.
Da-thong encouraged young people who are graduating from colleges and have a passion for teaching to join the teaching profession, as the ministry is working to have trained professionals with moral and ethical standing in the classrooms across the country.
Meanwhile, it can be recalled that on Monday, on World Teachers Day, the President of the National Teachers Association of Liberia, Madam Mary Nyumah, called on the Government of Liberia to put a halt to the abrupt retirement or pension of its members without prior notice, saying, before any teacher can be retired, they should be notified at least one year ahead of their retirement plan.
But Deputy Minister Da-thong said those retired were of retirement age of 60 years, stating that there is nobody retired below 60 years, as he assures the ministry will work on the disagreement with the NTAL.