MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Ministry of Education has officially released the academic calendar for the entire 2020/2021 academic school year. It will run from December 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.
Schools across the country had been ordered shut by the ministry as the Coronavirus pandemic entered Liberia in March. In preparation for the regional WASSCE examinations, all 12th graders were directed to report back to school on June 29 and the ministry later announced staggered schedules for the rest of the students in junior and senior high grades. Primary grades remained close for the rest of the year while the ministry said it was working to ensure that the return to school was done safely.
Now, the ministry has set out a number of activities leading to the reopening of schools for the academic year.
Registration for both old and new students will take place from Nov. 1-27, while a teacher professional development workshop will be held from Nov. 18-21.
All parents are being encouraged by the ministry to fully participate in all school activities, including a two-day orientation in late November and the Parent-Teacher Association meetings to be held before the reopening of schools.
Meanwhile, a press release issued by the ministry says it began recruiting qualified and competent teachers on Oct. 27. The process will continue until Nov. 6, when 1,631 vacancies are expected to be filled.
A major issue at the start of every school year is the arbitrary hiking of tuition and school fees, and the ministry is taking action against the practice by requiring schools to submit a request for approval of fee and tuition increases.
Another source of revenue for schools that can be used to extort money from families is the cost of uniforms. In the past, schools would require that uniforms are purchased directly from the schools; however, the ministry is mandating that all schools provide a sample of their uniform for voluntary purchase by families. Families can also opt to have the same uniform sewn by an external tailor. Failure to adhere to the practice could result in a school having its duty-free privileges revoked, the ministry noted.
All private schools have also been required to reveal all fees and tuition including graduation fees from the beginning of the academic year. The ministry says it will penalize private schools for unjustifiable increments to these fees if they are not commensurate with services provided by institutions.
“The Ministry of Education is therefore calling on all education stakeholders, students and parents for their fullest compliance and full involvement,” the ministry said, as it published its 1416 hotline for the public to report violators of the regulations mentioned above.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah