President Sirleaf Tours MCSS Schools as Students Agree to Remain Constructively Engaged
(MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Tuesday, October 23, 2012) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, on Tuesday, October 23, began touring several campuses of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) affected by teachers’ go-slow action. The President’s tour took her to the William V. S. Tubman High School and the G.W. Gibson High School, both in Monrovia.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the tour by the Liberian leader was intended to get first-hand information on a commitment made by public school teachers to resume classes after nearly two weeks of a go-slow in demand of salary increment. The teachers made the commitment Monday to return to classes after the personal intervention of President Sirleaf.
Upon arriving at Tubman High School in Sinkor, the President met only a handful of teachers who informed her that they were not in class as promised due to the difficulty in reaching their colleagues about the leadership’s decision to return to class. However, they promised to return to class next week, by which time the information would have been fully disseminated to all teaching staff.
The scene was the opposite that at G.W. Gibson on the Capitol Bye-Pass, where teachers had returned to the classrooms. They were seen teaching and carrying out normal instructional work to the delight of their students.
Inspecting the classes, President Sirleaf thanked the teachers for returning, and promised that their concerns are being looked at for proper redress. She encouraged the students to see their education as the seed to future empowerment.
On Monday, October 22, in the wake of the stay-home protest by teachers of the MCSS for salary increment, students of the System staged a protest in front of the President’s Foreign Ministry Office to draw her attention to their plight. Through their spokesman, Prince Dumoe, in a meeting with President Sirleaf, the students said their action was due to the prolonged refusal of their teachers to return to classes, thereby putting them behind the other school systems in exhausting this school year’s curriculum.
Mr. Dumoe said the students believed that the stay-away action by their teachers did not demonstrate constructive engagement, and he challenged them to engage government constructively whenever such misunderstandings arise rather than always interrupting the learning process in order to get their concerns across to the authorities. The students promised to remain constructively engaged with the government in resolving the impasse, while assuring the President that they would resist all temptations to go onto the streets.
In response, President Sirleaf said her administration still sees quality education as a priority and will do all within government’s control in addressing students’ and teachers’ concerns. She used the gathering to call on teachers to return to their classes and to stay constructively engaged in discussing their concerns with government. The President promised to personally inspect affected schools in further efforts to get teachers back to their classrooms, and thanked the students for remaining calm and constructive in seeking redress of their concerns.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf continues her tour of other MCSS schools on Wednesday, October 24.