Liberian Youth Groups Divided Over Decision to Prematurely Close Schools

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Since the government’s decision to close schools prematurely, there have been criticisms from all quarters of Liberian society. Youth groups are particularly divided over the decision.

The Ministry of Education decided to close schools on July 31 and bar ninth and twelfth graders from taking the annual West African Examinations Council tests, in an effort to revamp Liberia’s struggling education sector.

One group that fully supports the decision is the Federation of Liberian Youth.

FLY President Augustine Tamba spoke at a news conference in Monrovia over the weekend and said his organization sees the move as timely and in the best interest of the education sector.

Tamba said, “It is good for the Liberian government to close all schools across the country because of the continuous mass failure of Liberian students at public tests.”

On the other hand, hundreds of students under the banner of the Montserrado County Students Union on Thursday staged peaceful demonstration at the Grounds of the Capitol building in Monrovia.

The President of the Union, Mohammed Donzo, said they will continue to demonstrate until the government reverses its decision.

He said, “We have gathered at the Capitol Building to send a crystal clear message to the Legislature to let them know that we will not accept their decisions to close schools.”

“The closure of schools is not timely and holistic. Therefore, we are calling on the Government of Liberia to do something in the interest of the Liberian people or else we will continue to demonstrate until we can hear something positive from the Ministry of Education,” Donzo said.

During the students’ demonstration, Montserrado’s Senior Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff assured the students that the Legislature would do all it can to resolve the crisis in the education sector.

“The legislature will take a decision that will put students, parents and guardians as well as the Ministry Of Education in a win-win position,” Doe-Sheriff said. “We are all together in this intellectual fight.”

The senator pledged her support for the students. “We want you to understand that when you come up like this, there is no way that we can ignore what you are doing because you are the bedrock and the future leaders of this country,” Doe-Sheriff said.

Featured image courtesy of USAID 

Zoquay Beysolow

Zoquay is a Bush Chicken Journalism Fellow. She is a young reporter who is also a student at the University of Liberia. She currently serves as a newscaster at the radio service of the Catholic Media Center, Radio VERITAS FM 97.8.

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