GANTA, Nimba County – Although schools in Ganta have received supplies to reopen on the date specified by the government, classrooms remained empty as parents decided against sending their kids to school.
One of such schools is the Ganta United Methodist High School (GUMH). In a conversation with the principal of the school, Pastor Ruger S. Domah, he expressed his frustration with the low turnout on the first day of school.
Domah said that many absent students disclosed that their parents asked them to stay out of school this academic year due to the lack of an official declaration that the country was Ebola-free. The other major factor cited was the lack of money for school fees due to the impromptu announcement of the reopening of classes.
Domah, who is also the general secretary of the Mission and Private School Association of Nimba County, asked the government to provide subsidies to private schools. He noted that the association had formally sent communications to the Nimba County Legislative Caucus to consider their request.
For those who sent their children to school, the principal called on parents to aid the administration in ensuring that students adhered to the Ebola preventative methods put in place.
Ganta’s largest public school, John Wesley Pearson High School, had a similar experience of low turnout. The principal of the school, James Saye Cardame emphasized the importance of reopening the schools. “Our children have stayed long out of school and that is not fine for them. The more they sit, they will be deteriorating academically,” Cardame said.
He thanked the government for making available sanitary materials for 73 schools (both public and private) in the Bain-Garr District. Cardame continued, “The supply is timely, and shows that government is adequately prepared to assist schools in the prevention of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).” Cardame told the Bush Chicken that the materials had arrived on Monday and would be distributed to schools beginning Tuesday, February 17.
Although the Pearson High School had registered over 1,000 students, Cardame expressed disappointment over the low turnout. He estimated that 150 – 200 students were present. Across Ganta, the attendance in other schools was similarly discouraging. Authorities in the district attributed the dismal turnout to “the lack of balanced information from the Ministry of Education.”
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has had several blunders in announcing the reopening of schools. Initially, MOE had set February 2 as the day for the opening of schools. This day was then moved to February 16. As early as last week, sources within the ministry then revealed that the new date was March 2. The ministry then reverted back to the February 16 date.