Education Minister George Werner says much of all the ‘mess’ in the educational system is the result of the lack of continuity and transition in the Ministry’s leadership.
He cited the Ministries of Agriculture and National Defense which according to him are the only two line ministries which had enjoyed continuity and can point out significant reforms unlike other ministries and agencies which suffer leadership transition.
Howbeit, Minister Werner who along with his team are mandated to manage this unkempt system with an uncertain gavel in President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s two years regime told well wishers and the employees at a turning over ceremony yesterday that they are poised to moving the system from ‘mess’ to ‘best’.
“I did not come here to bring peace. I have come to reset the agenda for education in Liberia and decisions made in this process will make some people unhappy and create a lot of pains but it will be in our best interest,” he reiterated.
Minister Werner said it is not money alone that can move the educational system and urged all employees and partners to be committed, invest their time with passion adding, “let us do all we can to invest in education and demand results.”
He said with the proper teachers, there will be good salaries and pay benefits because when people are ripe for the classroom and do not get the right pay benefits that breeds corruption but with the right salaries, people can be held accountable for results.
The new minister outlined several things he is carrying on his platform into the educational system naming pay reform and payroll cleaning as well as training of teachers promising to build on the successes of former Education Minister, EtmoniaTarpeh.
He said his intent is to have a consultative management staff that will listen to students, CEOs, DEOs about how they feel and at the same time take their concerns to donors stressing government’s priority because when decisions are made those at the helm of the decision should take into consideration the environment and calendar year wondering, “how can you get the best from students when the calendar year instructs that they go to school in the middle of a serious rainy season? How can you expect a huge number of students expected to sit the WAEC in few months to pass when Ebola had derailed the learning process?
The outgoing Minister Tarpeh said her successor and his team are not strange to the challenges in the educational system of the country and called on the MoE employees to exhibit sincere team work.
Turning over to Werner, Former Minister Tarpeh said she is confident that the Werner-team will take the education to heights that have never been seen in the country’s educational system advising them that there is much to be achieved and that cannot be done overnight.
She promised to remain in Liberia and see the system transformed and reformed amidst all the protests by citizens; some of which cannot be provided any genuine reason. The outgoing minister admitted that the task is a serious challenge.
She expressed confidence that the MoE employees are committed to work and urged the in-coming team to work along as they too have a responsibility of letting people know what is needed to get the system functional.
The chairperson on the Senate Committee on Education, Jewel Howard-Taylor, urged the Werner-team to take seriously its two-year assignment because their mandate is to deal with the destiny of the population.
Senator Taylor said the government has not been able to put in place all the funding needed to make the system work and urged it to reorganize the budget; at the same time, she honored the services to Madam Tarpeh and her outgoing team.
The chairperson on the House’s Committee on Education, Matthew Zarzar informed the incoming Minister and team that educational practices in the counties are different and cannot be micro-managed from central office.
Meanwhile, other members of Minister Werner’s team included Deputy Minister for Administration, AagonTingba, Jr. and Deputy Minister for Instruction, Dr. Romelle A. Horton.