first_imgNo books, chairs or desks: Students in class at the Piata Public School, Bong County, learn under the school’s only teacher and administrator, Mr. Wallee Brown.“The government, in 2018, deleted the names of three teachers from the payroll, because it said the teachers were not qualified, so I am the only one teaching all the subjects,” Mr. Brown, the school’s principal said.A Daily Observer survey conducted recently in Sanoyea District in Bong County has established that most of the public schools are “neglected with students being left to their own devices. It appears as though nobody, not even county authorities, are concerned about the dismal state of affairs of public education in the county.For example, the Piata Public School has only one instructor, Wallee Brown, 61, who is reportedly assigned as the principal and registrar, as well as a classroom teacher providing instruction from the nursery thru the sixth grade classes.“The situation has forced me to inform other pupils that are from 3rd to 6th grades are not to come to school until otherwise announced, but many of them are still forcing themselves to come, because they do not want to sit at home,” Mr. Brown said.Brown, a 1979 graduate of the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI), informed the Daily Observer that the school has enrolled 125 students, but it is currently catering to only 25 due to the “no money syndrome to encourage the students and also the teaching staff,” he said.He said he started from 1980 as a classroom teacher assigned at the school until recently, when he became the principal proper, following the dismissal of the previous principal who, education authorities claimed, was not qualified to teach.“The government, in 2018, deleted the names of three teachers from the payroll, because it said the teachers were not qualified, so I am the only one teaching all the subjects,” Mr. Brown said.The government built the Sanoyea Public School in 1973 to cater to the educational needs of school-going children. The school originally had four assigned teachers.When asked how he manages to coordinate activities of the various classes simultaneously, Mr. Brown said he sometimes requests one of the students to write the notes on the chalk-board, while he is in another class teaching or sometimes he gives the students a class assignment.He added, “sometimes I don’t visit other classes until school is over for that day.”“Looking at my age, the next academic year, I will close down the school, because I alone cannot teach from the nursery to 6th grade,” Mr. Brown said.Brown said the structure now risks total collapse judging from its dilapidated condition, noting, if the building is not renovated before the next school year, many parents may not send their children there.Piata is surrounded by six satellite villages; “a reason that gave rise to the construction of the school to provide education to the children, who are unable to walk hours to Sanoyea Town for school,” Mr. Brown said. According to him, the distance between Piata Town and Sanoyea town is about three hours’ walk.He said he has on several occasions informed the District Education Officer (DEO) Silas Juakollie about the situation at the school, “but the DEO has in return asked me to exercise patience as the Ministry of Education (MoE), and the government partners are doing everything possible to begin the employment of additional teachers.“Our public schools accommodate majority of the poor and, if we well manage the schools, many of the ‘poor people’ will have access to a reasonable level of education that would lead to an increase in the literacy rate,” Mr. Brown concluded.It can be recalled that former President Sirleaf once described the Liberian education system as a “mess” preferring instead to outsource public education to private business interests rather than training more teachers and outfitting public schools with instructional materials including the provision of laboratory and library facilities.The Bridge Project and the sex scandal ridden More Than Me project were at the time touted by Education Minister, George Werner, as successful examples of what outsourcing of public education could achieve. The results of both projects today remain at best questionable as they have failed to deliver the promised dividends.According to UNESCO public spending on education in 2017 accounted for a mere 7.0 percent of the national budget as opposed to the recommended global average of 20 per cent. This represents a rise of 5 percent from a dismal 2 per cent in 2012. This compares unfavorably to the Ivory Coast that spent 18.62 percent of its budget on public education in 2017 or to Guinea which spent 15.769 percent of its budget on public education while Liberia’s other neighbor Sierra Leone spent 19.915 percent of its budget on public education in 2017.From all indications the situation may even regress further given the current economic downslide, while hopes for an upturn in the crisis may not prove tenable, at least in the short term, according to observers.Meanwhile the Finance Ministry has announced a delay in the submission of the national budget. According to Ministry of Finance sources, this delay is because adjustments have to be made which may even require a cut in salaries of civil servants. Budgetary allocations to line ministries are expected to also be reduced. At this stage, it however remains unclear whether or to what extent the proposed cuts will affect the already low allocation to public education.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgThis article appears in the current edition of our sister publication, Sport magazine. Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand, and follow on Twitter @SportmaguktalkSPORT’s sister publication Sport magazine interviewed Santi Cazorla. Read on to find out which team-mate he described as “annoying in training”!What has Alexis Sanchez brought to Arsenal this season?“He’s the best signing in the Premier League. There were plenty of good signings this summer – like Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas – but Alexis Sanchez has been huge for us. He’s ambitious, he wants to get better with every training session, and it was positive for him to leave Barcelona. He’s now playing with another mindset and he’s playing fantastically.”Does he work as hard in training as we see him do in matches?“Of course, Alexis Sanchez is as intense and annoying [laughs] in training as he is on the pitch. He’s so into football that he doesn’t want training to finish. Sometimes the manager is calling it off because training is over and Alexis is always kind of sad, because he loves to play football. His work ethic is a really positive influence for all of us.”Which player has influenced you the most in your career?“In the Spanish national team, Andres Iniesta and David Silva are two players who catch my eye and who I try to learn from. When I was younger at club level, I played for Villarreal – and I had a teammate who played differently to all of the rest. That was Juan Roman Riquelme – who retired just this year, by the way. I learned so much from him.”The Spanish national team had a tough World Cup after an incredible run of success. How close do you feel you are to getting it right again now?“Well, it’s really tough to know. Obviously there has been some changes within the Spanish team. David Villa, Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol no longer play – so there are some newcomers in our team. I think that those new players will contribute with their positive attitude and their skills, but we need some time to integrate all this together and to start flourishing again.”You played in Spain until 2012, when you moved to Arsenal and London. Do you like living here or do you miss home?“I enjoy London a lot, it’s an amazing city – and I also get a lot of joy from playing the Premier League style of football. Also, it’s a great chance for my kids and for my family to get a new experience by living here.”This is crucial, Santi: have you found any good Spanish restaurants in London?“Yes, I go to plenty of Spanish restaurants – I used to go a lot with my girlfriend when I first arrived. It’s something that I recommend you do. There are some very good Spanish restaurants in London, like Cambio de Tercio, like Iberica, like [Café] Espana. I suggest you go there and grab some food.”Suggestions noted. Back to the football: you’re renowned as a two-footed player – is that a result of nature or nurture?“I have to say I’m lucky to be both-footed. I think I was born with that skill. But at the same time, my managers – ever since I was in the youth stages of football – they just demand me to work on that; to play with both feet.”January’s 2-0 win against Manchester City was seen as one of Arsenal’s – and your own – best performances of the season. What went so well in that game?“Before that game, I said that we had to play the perfect game to beat Manchester City. Last season, we lost that game and lost it badly – 6-3 was the final score. But we learned from it. To beat them this time, what we did was to defend together, to be united, to help each other. We were focused and we showed togetherness. We were really solid, especially at the back – and then when we had the ball, we used it really well. That game is sort of an example of what we have to do.”How do you achieve that level of performance again?“What we have to do is show more regularity. Sometimes we play really good games and the game after, we don’t play as good. We need to be consistent and play like that for a long period.”Arsenal tend to be at the business end of both the Champions League and Premier League – but what do you need to step up and win one of those competitions?“The key is belief. We are a good team, but when we played the FA Cup final last season, I could feel among the fans and among the club, some kind of fear to lose. That is something that we should remove from our minds now. Personally, I think that our squad is as good as Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City or Manchester United. We don’t envy their squads and we have the quality to fight with them face to face. It’s down to us to make that step forward.”Monaco are next in the Champions League. What do you know about them?“We’re kind of happy with the draw. We could have faced Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich – those are really hard teams to beat. But Monaco are also a good team. We played against them last summer in the Emirates Cup and they beat us at home. Radamel Falcao [who scored the only, decisive goal] is not there any more, obviously, but they are still doing well in their league. We are confident ahead of this tie, but we’re not underestimating them.”How do you relax away from football?“I spend a lot of time with my family. I’ve got two kids – a boy who’s five years old and a daughter who’s two years old. You have to take into consideration that winter here is hard! You don’t feel like going out a lot.”If your eldest is five, does he understand that it’s quite cool that his dad is a professional footballer?“Yeah, it’s crazy! He knows that I am an Arsenal player and he’s absolutely mad about it. I feel like I have double training every day: one here with the club and another one at home, because he plays a lot of PlayStation and he chooses Arsenal and knows every player.”Please tell us that he always plays you in his Arsenal team…“I stay on the bench. Sometimes the game itself puts me on the bench for no reason! My son is asking me: ‘Why, Daddy, you are always on the bench?’ I do not know how to answer.”If you weren’t a professional footballer, would you still play for fun?“My life is football. I am lucky to be a professional. But I think if I wasn’t, I would still play for a local team. Actually, this is what my brother does. He’s not a professional football player, but he plays in my region, in Asturias [northwest Spain], in lower football categories. If you are a football fan, if you enjoy the sport and you love it, then you play – no matter what.”Midfield Maestro Santi Cazorla wears the new PUMA evoSPEED 1.3 football boot 1 Santi Cazorla celebrates an Arsenal goal with Alexis Sanchez last_img read more