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Liberia: President Sirleaf Tells Teachers to “Go Back to School”

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On July 30th, at the 64th Convention of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf asked the nation’s teachers to go back to school.

She said that her government would continue to make education a priority and that teachers’ own professional development was critical.

“We still like to see you teachers go back to school yourselves,” she told the crowd. “We’ll talk to the minister to see how some of you can go abroad for studies; you know we have scholarships.”

She stated that the government was working to address the problems in the country’s education sector, and was evaluating raising teachers’ salaries.

Sirleaf told the teachers that her previous comment calling Liberia’s education system “a mess” was intended as a wake-up call, to draw attention to the importance of an educated population for the country’s development.

Sirleaf’s remarks echo those of USAID Liberia’s Mission Director John Mark Winfield, who also spoke to the gathering. Winfield told the convention that Liberia’s progress hinged on education and that teachers need support from the government and their communities in order to do their jobs.

Winfield also reiterated the US government’s commitment to supporting teacher training in Liberia.

President Sirleaf concluded her speech by gifting a $5000 grant to the NTAL and then left to visit the opening ceremony of a new local high school, where she donated student scholarships and supplies.

Creative Commons Love: Ken Harper on Flickr.com

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