IRC Helps Refugee Liberian Teachers Get Crucial Accreditation
After a persistent advocacy campaign, the International Rescue Committee has reached an agreement with the Liberian government enabling hundreds of Liberian refugee teachers in neighboring Guinea to teach in their home country when they return.
A June 13 memorandum of understanding, co-signed by Liberia’s education minister and IRC country director Nicky Smith, allows for nearly 500 IRC-trained teachers to receive the necessary accreditation to teach within Liberia upon their repatriation.
“With the return of all these teachers the quality of instruction and the number of students who have access to education will improve significantly,” said Daniel McVitalis, the IRC’s education coordinator in Liberia.
As Liberians struggle to rebuild their education system, the influx of teachers will represent a much-needed kick start to the “Education for All” initiative launched by the transitional government last month. It will also help the war-torn country make progress towards the goals to eradicate poverty and get every child into school, as laid out in the UN Millennium Summit five years ago.
“These teachers are the ones who should be commended,” said Nicky Smith. “Despite their hardships 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.”
This event represents the culmination of a 10-month collaboration by the Ministry of Education and the IRC in Guinea and Liberia. The IRC in Guinea 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 IRC currently provides materials and teacher training in more than 20 schools in Nimba and Lofa, two counties that saw significant fighting during more than 14 years of conflict. The IRC also conducts workshops with parent-teacher associations, trains female teaching assistants and provides scholarships for more than 85 girls.