Jefferson D. Tweh
Students in Grand Kru County are said to be deprived of quality education. Speaking to journalists last week Saturday at Rose Garden, the incoming senatorial Aspirant of Grand Kru County in the 2014 Mid-Term elections, Mr. Albert Tugbe Chie has expressed dissatisfaction over the school system in the county and other issues that confront the people.
According to Mr.Chie, he has held town hall and palaver meetings with various towns; Zoloken,Gbarnken, Juduken, Jlatwen and Beloken (Wedabo Chiefdom)Blebo,Newaken,Dougbo,Behwan,Wilsonville,Weteken,Garaway,Beach and Niffa(Trehn District);Geeken,Pennuken,Chenwrinken,Jarboken,(Buah district);Dwehken,Gbarken,Wropluken,Jerboken,and Parluken(Forpoh District)Betu in Jloh District,Chlankalen,Belakpoh, and Tugbaklee in Picnicess, Konieh,Ketieh,Nrokia,Dayokpoh,Filoklee and Jekwekpoh in Sasstown as well as Topoh, Setoh,in the City of Barclayville.
Mr.Chie said during the meeting with the Zoloken people, an elderly man said that the name of big brother ‘Grand Kru County is Mr. Suffering’.
Mr.Chie narrated that students attend classes in make-shift structures with dusty laterite floors without doors, benches, blackboards, and chalk, and the Juduken Elementary and Junior High School and Zoloken public Elementary and Junior High School in Wedabo are examples.
According to Mr. Chie, it is regrettable that 5th and 6th graders share the same class, and as a result, the students do not know which class lessons had been taught, whether 5th or 6th grade lesson. This often happened in Picnicess, Gbeta Elementary and Junior High School.
Mr.Chie also said that there is no trained instructional staff in all schools throughout the county and this is one of those factors contributing to low enrollment of students in schools in the county. “Death rate remains very high in Grand Kru County due to the lack of health facilities and the Rally Time Hospital lack of basic equipment and logistics to carry out its mandate despite the huge allotment to the Ministry of Health in the National budget.
According to Mr. Chie, it is very disheartening that there is no clinic in the entire Forpoh District which is a serious issue and there is a need that the Ministry of Health shoulder its responsibility and save lives in that District.
Mr.Chie has urged national government not to dissolve or rejoin districts because the act of doing it would create great embarrassment and people in the county will lose their jobs, because there are thirty-two towns which have been given city statues and the crafters of these bills intend to foster development, peace and provide employment opportunities in the public sector for rural dwellers.
“Furthermore, when the eight districts and thirty –two cities were created in Grand Kru County, the national budget was less than US$60 million; why will we want to abolish these structures now if the national budget exceeded US$600 million and let government spend the money and build the requisite infrastructure and there should be no pro-grading or retrograding,” he asserted.
”We are absolutely opposed to the merging of Statutory Districts and the abolishment of the existing cities in Grand Kru County and call on the National Legislatures not to pass any bill for said merger or dissolution .
According to Mr.Chie it is inhumane and socially unjust for the Ministry of Finance to make his people walk for days to Barclayville from all parts of the county to collect their monthly salaries and these workers stay as much as ten days in Barclayville just to collect paper checks and then cash them and they take debts for food and lodging while awaiting the pay checks and cash; finally when the cash arrives in Barclayville ,debts are settled; these government workers make the return journey largely on foot for days with almost empty pockets to their various towns.
“The effect of this very poor and grossly unfair salary payment arrangement is mostly affects Grand Kru School system and while the teachers are away for seven to ten days every month to collect their salaries, public schools in the county remain closed and students suffer, while students in Monrovia and other prioritized areas continue their studies. We therefore call on the authorities of the Ministry of Finance to put in place appropriate mechanisms in addressing this serious problem confronting the people of Grand Kru County,” stated further. Mr. Chie affirmed that Grand Kru County economy is in a bad state and subsistence farming in food crops, fisheries, poultry cattle, is still the order of the day as was the days when he was in the grade school many years ago, but now food production is very low and residents rely largely on imported foodstuff.