-Dr. Cassell Admonishes Gov’t
By Moses M. Tokpah (Margibi County)
The Dean of the William V.S. Tubman Teachers College at the University of Liberia, Dr. Cecelia Cassell is admonishing the government of Liberia to invest in teacher education in the country.
The Liberian female educator speaking at the 2017/2018 graduation program of cohort nine of the Pre and In-service “C” Certificate Teacher Training Program of the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI) in Kakata over the weekend said teachers are nation builders and the role teacher education plays cannot be overemphasized.
She explained that teacher education is vital to national development and sustainable peace in any nation. According to her, it is through teacher education that teachers acquire the knowledge and skills needed to help transform citizens for the betterment of a nation and as such, it should be key to national development agenda.
“But the questions are, what mechanism have we as Liberians put in place to ensure that the training institutions are living up to the mandate given to them by the Ministry of Education, to prepare teachers who are not just qualified, but are competent, do we know training curricula aligned with the school curriculum, are they teacher educators, what opportunity do we have for our teachers to continue professional development, what are we as a nation investing in teacher education?” she asked.
Dr. Cassell revealed that if Liberian students will have to pass the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Exams (WASSCE) and have smooth academic integration as ECOWAS is anticipating, Liberian students pass the University of Liberia admission exams, the country have well trained and efficient doctors and nurses to cater to Liberians when they are ill, that there must be lawyers in the courts, engineers to build the roads, farmers to feed the nation and export food to other nations; then the government must invest in teacher education.
Dr. Cassell said with well-designed structure, beautiful classroom setup, well equipped libraries and science labs, appropriate teaching aides and good leadership, the teacher’s effectiveness will be enhanced stating that all of these are of little use if the teacher is ignorant, unknowledgeable, unskilled and different.
She asserted that the country’s investment in teacher education will yield many benefits towards Liberia’s market, development and so on. “My message to this government is that, if Liberian must compete with the rest of the World, huge investment must be made in teacher’s education,” she lamented.
The female educator added that as they strive to pull expertise and resources to produce the caliber of teachers to effectively impact the education sector of Liberia, there is a need for parents to join them in making it a reality by investing in teacher education.
She said the investment should take into consideration the training of teacher educators who will be well prepared to train teachers, noting that if the trainers have the requisite pedagogical content knowledge and are well motivated; everyone can be assured the teachers will be prepared for the task ahead.
Dr. Cassell congratulated the 140 KRTTI graduates and said they are now considered the light that will stimulate learners to build their curiosity to gain knowledge, skills and attitude that they will need to achieve their dreams because according to her, curiosity will build in them the desire to continue the learning process as long as they live.
She argued that teaching is not only about imparting knowledge, but also inspiring positive change in the learners. She called on the graduates to go and help change those things that are considered mess in the educational system of Liberia. Madam Cassell at the same time urged the graduates to continue pressing forward knowing that earning ‘C’ certificate is not the ladder.
For his part, the valedictorian of the 2017/2018 Pre and In-service “C” Certificate Teacher Training Program, Abednego Barning wants them be employed and monitored by educational stakeholders in the Country.
He said if they are given the opportunity to serve and they will surely serve because they have come to the teaching profession with passion and sincerity.
Abednego narrated that while it is truth they are being 100% prepared and seasoned with those various teaching strategies and pedagogical skills, they are asking that they be monitored because they believe monitoring is one of the most powerful instruments they can use to improve the educational sector of Liberia.
Abednego further expressed that he who learns must be willing to teach as such; they do not want their education which they have acquired over the period of ten months to be dormant and useless; stating that they want to be employed.
He recounted that a few years back they have been aware of previous governments ignoring the countless sacrifices that have being made by civil servants which includes teachers, doctors and security personnel.
The Valedictorian said they hope that civil servants will not be ignored by the current administration that has a president (Amb. George Manneh Weah) whose mind has always been reminded that there will be a greater change which Liberians always hope for.
Abednego indicated that the past governments have always wanted to have a built Liberia, a peaceful Liberia and a healthier Liberians asking how. He recommended that if there should be a change to build Liberia, then there is a need for a transform minds of Liberians; while if there must be a peaceful Liberia, there is a need for security personnel and if there should be a healthier Liberians there is a need for doctors, nurses and midwives among others.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Minister for Teacher Education at the Ministry of Education, Gayflor Y. Washington told the 140 KRTTI graduates that they will be licensed and their names placed on government’s payroll if they successfully passed a simple exam that will be administered to them.