Thursday, September 24, 2009

Furious Education Minister Explores

Minister Korto Blames Journalists As “Paid” Agents to Go After Him

By: Bill K. Jarkloh

Bittered with journalists after his suspension, Furious Minister of Education Minister Joseph Korto has lambasted journalists, saying they are ‘paid agents of his political opponents’ who go after him. Dr. Korto, after he resumed works from a one week suspension without pay, was irritated when the Truth FM’s Patrick Honnan quizzed him on the TRUTH Breakfast Show via phone, seeking to know whether he considered his suspension demeaning, a sign of weakness or strength.

The journalist engaged Dr. Korto on the Truth FM via telephone and further quizzed him on reports from the hinterlands indicative of poor school facilities, a situation reminiscent of that of the E. Jonathan Goodridge’s condition for which Minister Korto and his deputies were suspended.

“I know where you guys are coming from. You are referring to a picture of a school in the interior of Nimba where you have gone and taken pictures that you have published in the papers. But that school is not the only school, there are a couple of good school facilities that have been ignored,” Minister Korto furiously responded the TRUTH FM Breakfast Show question.

The Furious Education Minister contended, “One like you do not know what is happening around, you guys are paid by political opponents to go after people. You may take it and say what you want to say,” he said, noting that the school that was being used as the radio station’s reference was a self-help project – a makeshift school built by the people themselves.

Although presenters of the show countered that the situation was a perfect example to develop an idea of what the public school system is like in the countryside (meaning remote or rural Liberia), Dr. Korto refuted this assertion, saying that his administration has been doing well. But the presenters insisted that there are others rural public schools journalists have no access to, using places such Karnplay in Nimba and also rural Grand Gedeh for Example.

“The President holds me responsible for what are happening in the public education sector because she knows that those should not be happening considering my intellect. You know it is not possible for me to be everywhere; but the President think as head of the Education Ministry, I should be responsible so she suspended me,” he explained.
He added: “I had a lot of respect for you guys. But I know now that you are paid agents hired by my political opponent to tarnish my good hard earned reputation,” saying “you guys are playing politrick with me.”

Recently, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, describing the Education Minister irresponsible, suspended Minister Joseph Korto and his deputies after an unannounced visit at the Campus E. Jonathan Goodridge Public School in Barnersville where she discovered the surrounding of the campus insalubrious and unhygienic. Accordingly, the President on that day, September 7, 2009, described the learning atmosphere at the institution to be horrendous something which she ordered the institution closed for one week.

The visit of President Sirleaf at the E. Jonathan High School was predicated upon threat of strike action by students of the school due to filthy learning condition and bad Administrative practice.

In a rather tough frame of mind, President Sirleaf termed the leadership at the Ministry of Education as irresponsible and inattentive considering its failure to institute requisite administrative and instructional measures at the institution.

Information Minister Dr. Lawrence Bropleh revealed that funds for the cleanliness of the campus will be made accessible from the Presidential Project Budget due to the exigency of the case at the institution. Public Schools in Liberia are disappointingly managed with students in rural areas sitting on cement blocks to learn something which have been reported consistently in the media.

Observers classified the President impromptu visit at the institution as a welcoming venture and challenged her to continue to make such visit a habitual exercise to other Public Schools around the country. The Ministry of Education shares the giant size of the country’s budget with absolutely ineffective policy and poor implementation something which parents and guardians of students attending these institutions have complained for prompt remedy and solution but to no avail.

Deputy Ministers suspended along with Minister Korto are Hester Williams Katakpa, John Emmanuel Roberts and Mathew Zazay. The recent action of Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the E. Jonathan Goodridge Public High School branding the Minister of Education and former Presidential Candidate Dr. Joseph Korto as irresponsible and reckless in the discharge of his duty entails a matter of attention as we gradually enter the 2011 Presidential election.

Being irresponsible in leadership as affirmed by the Liberian President further illustrates a better picture over the ability of Dr. Korto to administratively control the affairs of any entity least to mention the Country as a whole.

In a bid to substantiate the views of the President concerning the griminess of the giant size institution, I personally visited the E. Jonathan Goodridge High School in Barnersville and realized that the President’s action to suspend authorities at the Ministry to be lightered. Besides the poor running of the institution, other investments like the structures and buildings which are considered assets of government are seen unattended to as far as its renovation is concern.

Coming back to the capriciousness of Dr. Korto as Minister of Education, one could doubt how effective an individual given the task as Minister of Education and by extension, heavily supported by national and international organizations and also supported by the government as indicated in the budget of Liberia would ignored and downplayed his responsibility in making learning condition in Public Schools an acceptable areas for education. What if Dr. Korto had won the 2005 election in Liberia?

As a former Presidential Candidate, there is a need to clear the air over the irresponsibility quality attributed to you Dr. Korto so as to safeguard your ability to govern or share and inspect responsibilities given you. While it remains factual that President Sirleaf is the Boss of Dr. Korto, classifying Dr. Korto and his entire deputies as irresponsible clearly taint the credibility and characters of these educated individuals.

On the other hand, there is also the need for Dr. Korto as a Politician to clear the air over the irresponsibility character attributed to him. Remember, statement alluded to individual’s credibility without prompt response may likely follow them in the future.

The Ministry of Education is just a section of the entire administration of the country and branding Dr. Korto as irresponsible person only indicate his inability to run the affairs of the whole country. The actions against the heads at the Ministry of Education should also be extended to other institutions in government.

Significant percentage of people employed in government institutions usually go free from the inability or refusal of their Bosses to monitor them thereby impeding the needed results expected from such output. “I believed the action against the heads at the Ministry of Education will signal warning to other heads of government institution to dedicate responsibility and further monitor such responsibility.”

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