Education Minister Bites Tongue

By Victor C. Hanson, Jr.

The newly confirmed Education Minister, George Werner, yesterday bit tongue before the House of Representatives on the speculation of the closing of schools and the cancellation of WAEC for senior students in the country.

In recent time it has been widely rumored that the Education Minister proposed the closing of schools by the end of the month and also opted for the cancellation of WAEC. But these have met strong resistance from parents and members of the public.

It was in the wake of this resistance that the minister was summoned by the House for clarity. The news of the minister’s appearance drew a huge crowd of protesters, including students on the grounds of the Capitol Building in the heavy downfall of rain.

The protesters, some with placards, pleaded with members of that body to reject the planned proposals of the minister.

Appearing before the House Plenary, Minister Werner made a U-turn on the reported plans to close schools and also to cancel the WAEC for seniors.

During his appearance, after several questions, Minister Werner said he never made the pronouncement as it relates to describing schools as ‘study class’ “but to engage the country on the future of the country’s educational system, there is a proposal but not yet final until everyone is listened to upon my nation-wide tour. If concluded, the President will communicate with the House of Representatives on the Executive’s decision,” he said.

According to Min. Werner, he is in the know that this academic school year will end in November of this year and not June as insinuated by the public.

According to communication in the possession of the INQUIRER newspaper, Minister Werner sent a communication to WAEC Headquarters in Ghana that “Liberia is making a request for an adjustment in our test schedules due to an adjustment in our academic calendar. Hence, there will be no WASSCE or WAEC in 2015 for school- based candidates, instead, we are requesting the examinations to be given in May 2016,” he noted.

At the same time, lawmakers in session yesterday have ordered Minister Werner to reconsider his plan of action which he described as a proposal.

At the climax of his appearance, a motion was made by Montserrado County District #6 Representative, Edwin M. Snowe, that the Education Minister must publish in both the print and electric media retracting his decision and serve the House of Representatives a copy that the school system remains on status-quo. The motion also mentioned that Min. Werner liaise with the House’s Committee on Education for cordial working relationship to avoid any future embarrassment.