BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – Students at the Marloi Public School in Johnny Tutu Town will return from the Christmas break to new classroom furniture after a charity organization donated over 50 rattan chairs to the school.
The school is one of many public school buildings in Grand Bassa’s second district that lack proper classroom furniture. The district education officer of the district, Aaron Diggs, highlighted the problems the school, and his district in general, face.
“This school is in dire need of help. The students lack seats. You can see the building for yourself – it is not really a conducive learning condition,” Diggs said. “We need [a] modern facility.”
He said, of the district’s 47 public schools, at least 18 are lacking a proper structure or basic classroom furniture.
Diggs said the substandard learning environment, coupled with the shortage of teachers, hampers the district’s progress.
“Some of these kids want to come to school, but when they look at these misshaped buildings, they say the place is not conducive for us – no seats,” he said. “They want to come to [a] decent school and conducive place and not under this condition.”
Because of this dire need, Diggs said he was grateful for the donation of chairs by the charity, known as Professional Volunteers.
One of the parents who was present when the donation was made, Mamie Tutu, also thanked the group for the donation.
“First we were feeling bad because our children were not having chairs to sit on,” she said, noting that students were forced to sit on the unfinished floor. “They used to come from school like someone from the playground – like they are not from school. So, the way they now bring the chairs, we will encourage other people to send their children to school.”
Speaking to The Bush Chicken in an interview after providing the donation, the organization’s chief executive officer, Boersen Hinneh, said the group generally helps underprivileged people, especially orphans and vulnerable children. However, he said the condition of the Marloi Public School drew his organization to assist with classroom furniture.
“It is not very pretty,” Hinneh said. “No one should go through what these kids are going through, but we understand the difficult time. We have to come together as Liberians to help our people to see how much impact we can make on this school for all of the kids of Johnny Tutu Town area.”
He noted that development is unachievable without education: “The only way we can rebuild our country and have our people live a better life is to educate our people, and that begins with the younger ones.”
He said the daily presence of children in schools despite the difficult situation shows that they are focused and looking forward to a better future.
Joseph Parker, principal of the school, thanked the group for their gesture. He called on them to continue their support, as he drew attention to other issues facing the school.
Parker said the school of 92 students runs from kindergarten to sixth grade, however, it has only two teachers – one of which is employed by the government while the other is a volunteer.
“Teaching needs manpower,” the principal stressed. “Sometimes when I come, I can feel bad because from ABC to the sixth-grade class, it got me embarrassed – even to plan the lesson can give me hard time. How can two teachers teach a whole school?”
Marloi Public School was constructed in 2013 by community members who wanted a nearby school for their children. The government later took over the responsibility for the school, although many basic needs have still not been dealt with.
Featured photo by Sampson David