Foya (Agenzia Fides) - "The level of education in Liberia differs greatly between urban and rural areas. In the rural areas we are disadvantaged, we have no help from the Ministry", says Joseph Vayombo, director of the ‘St. John Vianney’ Catholic Primary and Junior School, run by the Society for Africa Missions mission in Foya and named after the Holy parish priest of Ars. Speaking to Father Lorenzo Snider, who works as a missionary of the Society of African Missions in Foya, Father Vayombo spoke about the school situation in north-west Liberia and emphasized that "the few aid supplies that arrive go to the big schools in the cities. We have no laboratories or libraries and teachers are poorly trained. Furthermore, in Africa, parents have to pay tuition to attend all types of schools, including state schools. A family of 7-8 children with little means is forced to send some of these children, especially girls, to work in the fields". The director explains the problems that families face when it comes to buying books and school supplies, and laments the lack of staff. "Many schools have no books. The government hasn't sent subsidized books and school supplies for at least two years," says Vayombo.
And then there is the staff shortage. The population is increasing, but no new teachers have been hired for years. Many public schools are still run by 'volunteer' teachers who are paid a miserable salary of 8 euros a month, but now the government no longer accepts these 'volunteers' and so the 'official' teachers are forced to bear the impossible burden of two or three classes each, classes made up of an average of 70 students!". The students themselves, who were also interviewed by Father Snider, said they were happy to be able to attend a school that would give them the opportunity to help their families in the future, and learn about the history of peoples and traditions, about peace and learn respect. On the border with Sierra Leone and Guinea, the Parish of the Society of African Missions works to facilitate access to education for the most vulnerable, to offer quality education, to create a place of dialogue and exchange with the community, and to develop agricultural aid projects that will enable people to be more independent in the future. (LS/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 4/4/2022)