Liberia: Schools to Reopen Next Month

The Government of Liberia has announced the re-opening of schools next month. It said preparatory works leading to the re-opening of schools will begin this month. The announcement of the reopening of schools was initially announced by President Sirleaf during her Simple English interview with UNMIL Radio last week. Latest reports indicate that the Ministryof Education has officially announced that official classes would resume early next month and that activities leading to that are expected to begin on course.

Schools throughout the country were ordered closed during the second outbreak of the Ebola virus that claimed the lives of many people when the disease hit the country in August last year. The action of the government to have schools reopened is the result of the decline in the number of new cases of the Ebola virus. The closure of schools has posed financial burdens to many of the schools who are still obligated to their employees and teaching staff.

But here are concerns by some parents and guardians that the re-opening date is too close for parents to be properly prepared to meet the registration and fees for theirchildren. Recently the Central Bank of Liberia announced in the wake of the prolonged school closure as a result of the Ebola crisis, which has contributed to increased debt burden on private schools that had borrowed from banks; the CBL will pay off the outstanding loan obligations of all private schools, from kindergarten through high school. The commercial banks have already provided the CBL with the list of schools and the amounts involved.

CBL Governor, Dr. Mills Jones, in a special Ebola Relief Package said that this intervention serves two purposes, saying, “It helps to relieve the banks of the burden of provisioning, where schools find themselves unable to repay the debts, and it helps to relieve the potential burden on parents who may already be experiencing financial difficulties from increased fees that schools may have to impose in order to meet the obligation of the banks.”

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