By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-In the wake of the14 years of civil unrest, the education sector experienced a gravitating brain drain.
This drain triggered the infiltration of unqualified individuals into the teaching force which has led to decline in performances and students’ learning outcomes.
As one of its major goals, the Ministry of Education has embarked on the establishment of an effective school quality improvement and accountability system which puts premium emphasis on the certification and licensing of teachers.
Against this backdrop, the Movement in Support of Teachers Licensure Project held a stakeholders policy engagement dialogue seeking to ensure the integration of public perception, especially from teachers on the viability of the policy and further increase its acceptability upon completion and validation across Montserrado and Maryland Counties.
This need is reflected in the New Education Reform act of 2011 (section 3.5.1c) which states that “every person to be employed or recruited as a teacher shall possess a teaching certificate or degree and shall be licensed to teach.”
The absence of licensing standards to hold educators and teachers more accountable has made it even more difficult to implement set policies in the Liberian school system, including the code of conduct for teachers and school administrators,” Dr. Charles Gbollie told the gathering.
With this in place, Gbollie believes that the education sector of Liberia will take a big step forward adding, “if we keep doing things the same way and no result, it means we are not okay, and if we are okay, this is one of the ways.”
The issue of compensation he said, had been a major delay in the licensing of teachers and educators at the level of the Ministry of Education.
It is hope that this advocacy campaign shall improve the acceptability of the licensure guidelines and provide opportunity for teachers’ voices to be heard as part of the policy input process.
Benjamin Reeves is the LIPACE Executive Director, addressing a stakeholders’ roundtable over the weekend said, the goal of the dialogue is to increase the acceptability rate of the policy when it has been developed.
“The MIST-L Project will ensure that the policy development circle is as inclusive as positive,” Reeves said.
The project will conduct dialogues with education stakeholders, leverage the media to share information on the drafting process of the national policy and engendered a fruitful conversation that increases acceptability of the policy as the Ministry of Education seeks to roll out the validated policy and its implementation.
LIPACE Boss noted that the absence of licensing standards to hold educators and teachers more accountable has made it more difficult to implement set policies in the Liberian school system including the code of conduct for teachers and school administrators.
The MIST-L Project is a policy-advocacy initiative that seeks to influence policy-level change by ensuring the voices of teachers are integrated into the policy drafting and validation processes and more importantly improving learning outcomes by harnessing the collective expertise of all actors through alliance building in both Montserrado and Maryland counties.
According to Reeves, this will require an inter-sectorial coordination from all actors involved before moving to validation of the policy.