- According to the Ministry of Education, the closure is in the best interest of students in terms of their safety.
- According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Maxime Bleetahn, the schools will be reopened on January 3.
- The consortium of civil servants announced that they are set to go on a nationwide stay-at-home action across the fifteen counties beginning December 16.
The Ministry of Education in Liberia has ordered the closure of all public schools a week before scheduled time due to a teachers’ strike. In a press statement over the weekend, the ministry said the decision was arrived at because of the strike that was set to begin on Monday, as announced by the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) and the Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers Association.
According to the Ministry of Education, the closure is in the best interest of students in terms of their safety. “The Ministry of Education in protection of the interest of students and children who will be affected adversely by the teachers’ stay away action and who shall be at more risk in the event of any unforeseen situations counterproductive to peace, and being concerned for their wellbeing in any circumstance, have, in consultation with people of similar interest resolved to close all public schools across the republic of Liberia as of Friday December 13,” the Ministry said in a statement.
According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Maxime Bleetahn, the schools will be reopened on January 3. “We didn’t want to be reactive so we thought to close schools until January 3 while we negotiate with the striking teachers,” Bleetahn said. Teachers and other civil servants are on strike over delayed salaries. Seventy-seven thousand civil servants are participating in the strike.
The consortium of civil servants announced that they are set to go on a nationwide stay-at-home action across the fifteen counties beginning December 16. It consists of six public sector groupings, namely the National Teachers Association of Liberia, Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers’ Association, National Health Workers Union of Liberia, Civil Servants Union of Liberia, Supplementary Teachers’ Association of Liberia and the Liberia Labor Congress.
After a ministerial meeting on Thursday, involving the Ministries of Education, Finance and Development Planning, Justice, and Information, the leaders of the union said that were not going to call off the stay-at-home action. Before reading out their statement to the media, the Minister for Education, Prof. Dr. Ansu Sonii,had pleaded with them to call off the go-slow to no avail.
The union leader, Moibah Johnson, said that the strike comes as a result of failure of the government to meet their demands. “Some of us are owing landlords rents, our children are not in school because there is no money to pay their tuition and we have nothing to offer them this Christmas,” he added. The presidential press secretary, Isaac Solo Kelgbeh, said he hoped that the union leadership will convince its members to call off the strike as the government steps up its efforts in settling their demands.