The Liberian Education System During the Municipal War
Liberia, Africa’s earliest Republic was once a safe destination for Photography equipment brightest minds. Students from across the country located Liberia to study because of Liberia strong education system at the time. One of the earliest colleges in Photography equipment, Cuttington was Liberia first private college and was once a prestigious institution at the time. The University of Liberia (LU) was Liberia first college and is the largest public institution in 2021 waec runs Liberia today. It is the only University in the country that offer MARYLAND and PhD in select fields. In the late 80s the “Liberian municipal War” broke out and the light when dark on Liberia. Liberia was competing with institutions across the country as all the former colonies were now independent and the drive for schooling the masses were a priority for most of the Francophone and Anglophone former colonies when the light went dark.
The municipal war did two imperative things to the Liberian education system. The educated were either wiped out or flew the country. This became the time scale Liberians refer to as “the brain drain” when educated Liberians left the country for success reasons and also to find greener pastures in other nations. When the educated left, the education system flattened. These people were the cosmetic foundations within the education sector.
There was a vacuum left and it must be filled because Liberians have this love for education that people were still going to school in the most deplorable conditions. Doing the peak of the municipal war, Liberians still saw light at the end of the canal; it felt like there was a powerful gravitational force pulling them into jam pack classes with topic holes in the walls. It was normal for schools to be open today and closed in the morning because the rebels/government members of the military were in the town/village or city. This became a perfect place for prospecting more young men and women to fight their war.
This educational vacuum was filled by family members, friends, childhood friends and those that truly wanted money at the time. Liberian schools were being trained by high school drop outs, colleges were being trained at the time by university students or drop outs. Most if not all class material were outdated, I will like to say that Liberia was at the time completely cut off from all of those other world. Those that wanted fast ticket out of schools bought their way to avoid. Teachers freely called for bribes for grades, this lead to poor performing students that can not proved their grades in national and (West African-american Examinations Council) assessments.
Liberia has bright students and teachers, but they’re overshadowed by poor performing students, tainted teachers and school managers. Life is hard as a Liberian student, in addition to these many concerns I mentioned above, students walk miles to schools, no lunches are given; benches for students to take a seat on are non-existent. The schools are pack like spam, teachers are not well trained. No text books are given to teachers, all these should make a student stay away from classes, but the gravitational force is enormous and it is pulling students to classes regardless of school conditions.
Today, Liberia school system is still the same, with few teachers that are qualified to be called that name. Government is trying, but it is not enough after the municipal war, sign up of girls and boys has skyrocketed, students are still standing in classes. Will get houses are built to accommodate these students, “colleges” and “universities” are increasingly being open at homes most of them given accreditation irrespective of the lack of facilities, qualify instructors. Most of these schools are in the business to make fast money out of students because of government inability to provide a better alternative. The recent WAEC exam was a tragedy, there was mass failing within the country with government schools being the hardest hit.
While this is a poor way of looking at the Liberian school system, the Liberian students should be shown admiration for because of what they’re going through daily to obtain their diploma or degree. Teachers are now going through thorough vetting process and training. Liberia will come back again, the communication system in Liberia has improved remarkably and it continues to do so. Students and teachers are not stressed going to school, Liberia has a beautiful future now, but she’s long way to go. With the current energy she shows, Liberia will continue to imitate her others who live nearby. She’s going to continue to educate the masses and impress the international community.