Firestone Liberia Committed to High Educational Standards for All Students
Focusing on ensuring girls attend and perform well in school
HARBEL, Liberia, West Africa (May 19, 2006) - As part of efforts to create a gender balance within the Liberian educational system, the Education Department of Firestone Liberia has been engaged in helping girls attend, remain and perform well in school.
This awareness on the importance of the girl child’s education is being implemented by the Firestone Department of Education Females Educators Committee (FIDEFEC) on a voluntary basis. It was founded in 2003 with the help of the superintendent of schools, Mrs. Dwede D. Hoto, and a cross section of female teachers of the Firestone School System, when it was observed that a large number of female students were found in the primary grade levels (from K-1 to grade 6); and as the grade levels ascend, the number of girls begins to drop, especially between grade eight and above.
The founders of FIDEFEC further observed that at the grade eight and nine levels, some of these girls dropped due to teenage pregnancy, ignorance of their own body functions and the importance of higher education.
Since its formation, FIDEFEC has focused on teaching female students the importance of the processes their bodies undergo; giving awareness on the importance of education, teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS; as well as encouraging them to sustain themselves through basic home enrichment programs.
According to one of the advisers of the committee, Madam Annie T. Johnson, FIDEFEC serves as an encouragement to female students residing within the concession area of Firestone. She also said that the girls have been responding positively to the committee’s appeals for girls to put more time to their studies.
Madam Johnson further lauded Firestone Liberia for the opportunity it continues to provide children within the concession area, especially the females, in terms of quality education to prepare them for a better future to serve their country and people.
She said FIDEFEC has been visiting schools within the concession area of Firestone to give lectures, teach drama, cultural dances and role plays. She also spoke of plans to invite female speakers, especially those who have immensely contributed to society, government and the international community, to future programs of the Committee to serve as role models. She also stressed the need for the construction of a center to train female students so as to empower them to help themselves for the future.
The Firestone School System has an enrollment of more than 8,000 students with teachers whose qualification ranges from “C”- Certificates to Master’s Degrees.
Meanwhile, some of the female students spoken to in Harbel and other communities within the concession area and its environs praised members of FIDEFEC for such a bold initiative in assisting their fellow compatriots in promoting gender balance within the educational system. FIDEFEC’s corps of officers includes Patricia B. Wallace, President; Muna Jallah, Vice President; Precious A.C. Barmadia, Secretary; Victoria Bannie, Treasurer, among others.