By Bill W. Cooper
The Consortium of Education Defenders of Liberia (COEDEL) has intensified its fight against what they considered as ‘Privatization and commercialization’ of public schools in the country to the Bridge International Academies (BIA).
COEDEL considered the move as a ‘National Emergency’ and must be given attention as a matter of urgency adding, “If this government is permitted to outsource the entire primary school system and even that of the Jr. High Division, Liberia will enter the records of notoriety once again.”
“Liberia will suffer another shameful international scandal and we believe that the government is negating or shading away from her core responsibility and the outsourcing of more than 250 public schools to private providers is a form of government shading away from accountability to their citizens on the provision of education,” the group stated in a resolution released at the headquarters of the National Teachers’ Association of Liberia.
COEDEL said the intent of taking over all public schools is for profit-making; to create job insecurity for teachers, Education Officers (EOs) and all the educational employees in Liberia, noting that the BIA program does not also cover insurance for teachers and educational workers as enshrined in Education Reform Act of 2011, referencing Article 6.3.
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia yesterday, the group’s spokesperson, James Miller, stated among many things that as civil society organizations, education partners and concerned Liberians, they will do all to resist the ‘Creeping monster’ in the educational sector.
He stated that the intent of the creeping monster is to destroy the agenda of quality public education in the country, irrespective of status and conditions and noted, “COEDEL will reject any threat and menace that may not only affect the country fragile education system, but also affect teachers, civil servants, students, parents and the image of the country in the compliance of international conventions and protocols.”
COEDEL describe this as a form of discrimination which is counterproductive to the UN SDG #4, Universal Declaration of Human Rights as enshrined in Article 26 and the African Chapter of Humans and People’s Rights as enshrined in Article 17.
James then stressed that COEDEL see it as a form of disregarding the efforts of educational and public school administrators while by-passing the real issues confronting the education sector in Liberia (education financing), pointing out that they see it as a form of discouraging professional development while encouraging the recruitment of less competent individuals in the classroom.
The group is therefore calling on President George Weah as well as the Minister of Education to disengage from any arrangement intended to outsource public schools to the BIA or any other party of the same nature.
COEDEL’s Intensifies Fight Against Commercializing Education
By Bill W. Cooper