Last week, a group of civil society organizations acting under the National Teachers Association issued a press statement saying, “We have observed the consistent and persistent constitutional violations of the education sector by the George K. Werner-led administration. We therefore demand, as defined under Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution, the unconditional and speedy resignation of Minister Werner as of today, September 13, to September 20, 2016, in order to strengthen, upgrade and promote the education sector and usher in educators that will clear the ‘mess’”. The statement was read by the Secretary-General of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), Samuel Johnson.
The organizations are the NTAL, Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers’ Association (MCSSTA), and the Concerned Universities Students of the MOE Local Scholarship Program (CUSMOELSP) in collaboration with National Health Workers’ Union of Liberia (NAHWAL), the National Private Sector Health Workers’ Union of Liberia (NPSHWUL), and the Consolidated Human Rights Advocacy Movement (CHRAM).
But in an attempt to brush off the call for his resignation, Minister George K. Werner said he will not resign based on a demand from ‘any surrogate group of individuals.’
“Journalists have been calling me to react to statements from all the unions that are calling for my resignation including the Teachers, Health Workers, Blackmailers, Civil Society, Facebook unions,” Mr. Werner posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday, September 14, in response to a call for his resignation.
“Tell those in the know of calling for my resignation as Minister of the Education that it is not time for me to quit the government yet,” he said.
Werner promised to complete the payroll verification exercise, teacher testing exercise, the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) initiative, and school leadership reform.
Additionally, Minister Werner said, “Tubman High will be a school of excellence. By that time, our government’s time will come an end. Then I will go! Other than this, it is President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that will take me from the MOE. She’s not going do so in 48 hours.”
He recalled a time in the country’s history when the available became the qualified, noting, “It is not this time of my administration.”
In support of the Executive Branch of Government’s decision, Senator Taylor said as result of the Liberian civil conflict, government is unable to provide all the basic social services without the engagement of local and international partners.
She made the statement recently at a one-day forum on “National Policy Alternative to Privatization in the delivery of quality public services in Liberia” held at a local hotel in Monrovia.
She explained that the PPP, involving service providers in the education sector, is a pilot project intended to improve the education system of Liberia.
She indicated that over the years Liberian students have not been performing well in the West African Examination Council (WACE) exams which, she noted, has a bad reflection on the country’s education system.
Senator Taylor emphasized that most of the projects undertaken by government in almost all sectors are based on public-private partnerships, noting that government does not have the needed resources to execute them alone.
The forum, which was organized by the international NGO ActionAid in collaboration with the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) and OXFAM, brought together civil society groups, university students and other stakeholders in the education sector.