Liberia: Worried Legislators Want Schools Reopened, Education, Health Ministers Summoned
By: Leroy M. Sonpon, III
Legislators in the House of Representatives are concerned about the future of Liberian children as the closure of schools in the country continues due to the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
As the Ebola virus spread uncontrollably throughout the country, the Liberian government through the Education Ministry in July ordered the closure of all schools until otherwise notified.
The legislators said that the closure of educational institutions due to Ebola is troubling and worry that the previous 14 years of civil strife had already put Liberian children behind academically.
Being cognizant that education is the key to development and provides the skills and competencies students require in order to become productive participants in the country’s economic and social development, the legislators are seeking a way forward to reopen the nation’s schools.
Members of the House of Representatives have unanimously voted for Education and Health Ministers Etmonia David Tarpeh and Dr. Walter Gwenigale to be summoned to discuss the conditions for reopening the schools.
The two officials are to appear before the Committees on Health and Education on Thursday and thereafter the Committees will later report to the House Plenary.
The Committees’ judgment to invite the Education and Health Ministers was due to the mandate from the Plenary predicated upon a communication from Rivercess County Lawmaker, Rep. Francis S. Paye, to find a way forward to reopen the schools.
Rep. Paye hopes that Min. Tarpeh can provide the Health and Education Committee a briefing on current developments within the educational sector.
“This, we believe, would also allow the Education Minister to hold consultations with other stakeholders for amicable solutions,” wrote Rep. Paye.
However, Grand Bassa County Representative Gabriel B. Smith amended the motion for the inclusion of Health Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale which was accepted by his fellow lawmakers.
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