Ministry of Education reintroduces civic education after more than 30 years – FrontPageAfrica
Monrovia– It has been more than three decades since civic education was formally taught in Liberian schools as part of an organized approach across the country. However, in the next school year 2022/2023, according to the Ministry of Education, civic education will be reintroduced in all schools in Liberia.
The return of this vital subject which aims to enlighten Liberian students on their rights, responsibilities and more for 7-12 year olds, was done under the auspices of Civics and Service International (CSI), formerly Child Steps International.
The civic education manual that should be taught at junior and senior levels is “LAW + YOU – Rights and Responsibilities of the Liberian Citizen”.
“Civic education is one of the main areas in building a nation’s democracy. According to the Civics Manual LAW+YOU – Rights and Responsibilities of Liberian Citizens, civic education is seen as the study of the rights of citizens and their responsibilities to each other and to their government. It also involves love for their country and a passion for developing a healthy functional society,” according to CSI.
The publication of the book is the culmination of more than seven years of work, developing and testing the curriculum, writing textbook content, piloting the curriculum in schools, and training school administrators and teachers in partnership with the Liberian Ministry. The program was first developed and tested. CSI has also worked directly with the Ministry of Education to train over 100 school administrators and teachers.
The Civics book, which is suitable for all grade levels – from middle school to high school – was written by 20 accomplished authors, including Americans and Liberians.
According to an official source from the Ministry of Education, civic education ceased to be taught in schools in the 1980s. Since then, schools have been operating for more than 30 years without a civic education curriculum.
In 2013, Civics and Service International (CSI) conducted an assessment with communities, officials and schools and found that most Liberians do not understand what it takes to be a citizen – responsibilities and rights . For example, it was common to hear citizens claiming to sell the country and divide the money among them. According to CSI, “It shows a lack of patriotism and citizen frustration with the governance process.”
CSI said the main essence of civic education is to provide sustainable constitutional democracy – human rights, conflict prevention and resolution, the role of citizens, vibrant self-esteem, etc. many people still traumatized and school children growing up unaware of their rights and responsibilities, CSI saw the need to write civic handbooks that took into account the cultural context of Liberia.
At Vice President J. Howard-Taylor’s launch of the new Civics book, she said, “When we talked about Civics and voter education, that’s important training. Reform our minds and not just learn; what are our responsibilities? What are our roles? What is expected of all of us, if you are an elderly person in our society? What role should we play? Building a system is not just about an individual. The president is only a bearer of vision; there are supports, there are catalysts that must make the system work.
According to the vice president, Liberians have gone astray since the 15-year war. “A lot of people don’t know what their job is and how government works. You hear a lot of people on the radio talking about a lot of things, so you understand that a lot of us don’t understand the processes by which a country can develop, learn and excel. But I think civic education will also help us to start loving Liberia again. We lost that. When you visit Ghana, when you visit Sierra Leone, when you visit Guinea, when you visit other places in our sub-region, you cannot talk to anyone about their country; the countries of the peoples come first. Unfortunately for us, all of our young people want to leave Liberia. Nobody believes that this country will grow, develop and go beyond our expectations. But civics will help them understand what we have, [and] Where are we going.”
She thanked everyone for their efforts in the project, including the CSI, the Ministry of Education and others for bringing civic education back into the curriculum.
When interviewed, Mr. Otis S. Bundor, Country Director of CSI, said he considered the project a lifetime achievement not only for him but also for the CSI team. “Today’s launch exercise of LAW+YOU – Rights and Responsibilities of Liberian Citizens shows that with collective efforts, Liberians can do better. It has been a dream for many of us, especially the President and Founder of Civics and Service International – Madame Tenneh Johnson Kemah. CSI’s vision is to achieve a Liberia where children have the knowledge to grow up with higher self-esteem and are able to engage in respectful debate, advocacy and action, holding their government to account while now a love for their nation. “, he enthused.
He also appreciated the other partners and the effective role that CSI has played in the education sector. “Publishing the LAW+YOU Handbooks would not have happened without strong and lasting partnerships,” Bundor said. He thanked Vice President Jewel H. Taylor, OSIWA, under the leadership of Mrs. Massah Crayton, the Department of Education, as well as the Governance Commission.
Bundor revealed that CSI has been able to train more than 100 school administrators and teachers – county and district and county education officers, civics, social studies and history teachers. “During these trainings, participants have acquired new skills and knowledge – interactive teaching techniques. We want students to become more involved in classroom activities and also apply what they have learned to their communities. .
In addition, Deputy Minister of Education, Felecia D. Somah, said that the Ministry of Education entered into a partnership with CSI to develop the textbooks for grades 7-12 and called it “LAW+ YOU”. “Now the way CSI did the books, 7-12 was in one book. They brought the book and we saw it again. We told them we wanted one book per class. We’ve crossed that bridge now; they have written one book per class and it is currently being finalized.
CSI is a non-governmental organization registered in the Republic of Liberia, established in 2012. CSI is also a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with offices in Washington, D.C. CSI launched the LAW+YOU Civics Curriculum in as a pilot project in Liberian schools. in 2013. In May 2016, the LAW+YOU program was launched as an interactive community program with little or no literacy. In 2016, the LAW+YOU radio program introduced the civic education program to listeners in Liberia. In 2020, CSI’s LAW+YOU became part of a national civic initiative in partnership with Liberia’s Ministry of Education and OSIWA.