IRC-Trained teachers in Guinea receive accreditation by Liberian government

Monrovia, June 13, 2005 - Today, representatives from the International Rescue Committee and the Ministry of Education entered into an agreement that will significantly increase the number of trained teachers working in Liberia.

This memorandum of understanding, co-signed by Dr. Evelyn S. Kandakai, the Minister of Education, and Ms. Nicky Smith, Country Director for the IRC, provides that nearly 500 Liberian teachers, having been trained and currently teaching in IRC-supported schools in refugee camps in Guinea, will be accredited and given the opportunity to teach within the Republicof Liberiaupon their repatriation.

"This collaboration will significantly strengthen the quality of teachers in the Liberian system," said Dr. Kandakai. "We highly appreciate the work of the IRC, who has been a faithful partner over the years in our common goal of improving education for Liberians."

This event represents the culmination of a ten-month collaboration by the Ministry of Education and the IRC country programs in Guinea and Liberia. In Guinea, the IRC modeled both the curriculum used in the schools as well as the curriculum used to train the teachers, on the guidelines provided by the Liberian government.

"The cross-border aspect of this project is particularly exciting," said Daniel McVitalis, Education Coordinator for the IRC. "We are committed to supporting the Ministry and other stakeholders both within and outside of Liberiato improve the quality of schools."

Dr. Kandakai emphasized that the collaboration fits very well with the 'Education for All' initiative, of which one of the key goals is improving the quality of education. The initiative was launched by the Transitional Government in May of this year.

Additionally, she added, the improvements to the education system will assist Liberiato make steady progress toward those targets contained in the Millennium Development Goals.

"These teachers are the ones who should be commended," said Nicky Smith, the Country Director for the IRC. "Despite the hardship of their situation, they remained committed to teaching the next generation of Liberia. They have exhibited their commitment to their country and now will play a critical role in the reconstruction process."

The IRC currently supports more than 20 schools in each Nimba and LofaCountiesby providing materials and teacher training. Additionally, it encourages the formation of and conducts workshops with parent-teacher associations (PTAs), trains female teaching assistants, and provides scholarships for more than 85 girls in three counties across Liberia.

Richard W. Haselwood
Information Manager
IRC Liberia
TubmanBlvd, CongoTown
Opposite CatholicHospitalJunction
Monrovia, Liberia
Tel: (+231) 6.583.385