By: Aminata S. Kromah
Liberia- The Liberian government through the Ministry of Education has received an initial batch of 14 certified Nigerian Technical Assistance Corps Volunteer Teachers to teach at secondary schools in five of the country’s 15 counties.
Accordingly, this is in fulfillment of President George Weah’s promise made some years ago to improve the country’s educational sector as one of the key priorities of the CDC regime under the Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity.
The official welcoming ceremony held on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at the MOE head office housed at the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, brought together key education stakeholders, top government officials and the local media.
Speaking at the program, Education Minister Professor Dao Ansu Sonii said the plea with the Nigerian government to have those volunteer teachers in Liberia was initiated by President Weah, adding that the total of 42 of the TAC classroom teachers are poised to be in the country.
He noted that the 14 teachers will be divided among and deployed in five of the 15 counties to include: Lofa with 3, Nimba 3, Bomi 1, Grand Bassa 2 and Grand Cape Mount 5.
The MOE Boss added that by the end of this September, the second batch of the volunteer teachers will join the second group, while the final batch will follow at a later date to complete the total number to 42 volunteer teachers across the country.
“Regardless of the time the initiative is taking effect, whether close or far from the holding of the October 10, 2023 presidential and legislative elections, it is a milestone achievement under my watch as the Minister and the Liberian government headed by President George Weah. This demonstrates his commitment to improving the education sector of this country,” Prof. Sonii stressed.
The Minister of Education also indicated that the presence of the volunteer teachers in the country is as a result of a bilateral agreement reached between Nigerian and Liberian Presidents, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and George Manneh Weah respectively.
According to Minister Ansu Sonii, the Nigerian government has already provided those teachers their compensations for the time of their stay, while the Liberian government only accommodates and provides other basic social services through the respective County Education Officers.
He said the County Education Officers have already provided furnished residential areas and other services for the TAC volunteer teachers.
“The credit is given to the both presidents of the two countries, and irrespective of the timing of these teachers coming, it is an achievement that a request made by the president several years ago is coming to fruition,” he added.
At the same time, Minister Dao Ansu Sonii has clarified that no teacher in Liberia should worry about jobs being taken away from them by the TAC volunteer teachers.
He stressed that President Weah is just responding to mitigate some of the key challenges confronting the sector and as such, no Liberian teacher’s job will be tempered with by the presence of these foreign teachers.
Meanwhile, the Representative of the Nigerian Technical Assistance Corps Volunteer Teachers, Adeleke Roland Sunkanmi assured the Liberian government their full commitment and pledge to maintain a high level of professionalism.
He promised that his team is determined to work very hard, partner with the key stakeholders to promote quality education for the Liberian students, noting that they have only come to teach but to also learn the traditions, cultures of Liberia and the education system.
“We are going to be goodwill ambassadors and this opportunity is a privilege provided to us by the government of Liberia,” the TAC Volunteer Teachers’ Rep. concluded.
However, our reporter who covered the event said copies of the medical reports of the volunteer teachers were submitted to the Minister of Education, Prof. Ansu Sonii by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Charge d’ Affairs Manir Ibrahim.
The documents state that all of them are mentally fit to work as teachers based on the standard laid down by the DTAC during the selection process and guideline governing deployment of those teachers under Nigeria’s Technical Aid Corps Scheme.
The 14 TAC Volunteer Teachers are: Okunlola Israel Ojuotimi, Adeleke Roland Sunkanmi, Ojo Temitope Jhonbul, Suleiman Isaik, Mohammed Kawu Umar, Onyekwere Benedicta Obiama, Olowodalu Olaleye-Francis, a dn Omidiora Josiah Fuminiyi.
Others include: Bagu Amos Dalyop, Oloruntobi Abiodun Mary, Ugwu Ejike Samuel, Tonjes Dachung Dagwo, Ogunmiloye Abiodun Oluwafifunmi, and Aliyu Jamiu Muhammed.