Liberia: Free University Education for Career Teachers

By: Augustine N. Myers – In an effort to enhance Liberia’s Educational Sector by producing quality and committed teaching staffs, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has announced that her Government will pay all tuitions and equally provide financial aid for students pursuing the Teaching Career.

Students expected to benefit are those attending the only two Public Universities in the Country, the University of Liberia located in the Capital, Monrovia, and the newly established William V.S. Tubman University located the remote Sub-Eastern Region (Harper, Maryland County).

Making the disclosure over the week-end when she officially launched the “Teachers Education Scholarship” at the University of Liberia, President Johnson-Sirleaf told the students that the payment of tuition, including financial aid, will take effect at the beginning of academic year 2010-2011.

According to her, the Liberian Government will pay all tuitions, fees and provide some stipends for the students. The Liberian Chief Executive further revealed that the real meaning of the incentive is to encourage most of the students who desire to join the Teaching Profession.

She commanded teachers across Liberia for numerous sacrifices they have rendered over the years and urged them to remain committed to the profession in order to improve the Nation’s Educational Sector.

President Johnson-Sirleaf who is considered “Visitor of the University” urged the students who are expected to benefit from the Scholarship Program to be committed to the process, because according to her at the end of their graduation, they would be made to sign an agreement to serve the Liberian Government for about two years in various public schools, particularly in rural areas where there’s a shortage of qualified teachers.

The University Authorities praised the President and her Government for the audacious decision taken in the interest of Liberia’s Educational System, describing it as the first in the history of Teachers Education in Liberia.

The 15 years of civil crisis in Liberia left all sectors of the Country paralyzed, including that of Education, with qualified individuals leaving the Sector for better salaries. The few that are sacrificing are refusing to be assigned in rural areas, especially in public school due to low salaries and other incentives.

The Teaching and Journalism Professions are considered the two least paid areas in Liberia, with most of the teachers and journalists using their respective professions as a steppingstone.