Reaching Middle Income Goal: Panelists Stressed Quality Education

By Timothy T. Seaklon

Panelists at the Governance Commission (GC) organized Policy Dialogue have all highlighted the need for quality education as the key factor to Liberia reaching the middle income country level come 2030.

The panelists who spoke one after another noted that the country’s educational system must be heavily supported with a criteria set for competent instructors so as to produce quality students.

The Panel’s discussion moderated by Dr. Toga Gayewea Mcintosh, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, the panelists comprising Educators, and other government officials laid emphasis on ensuring quality education in the country if the country must truly reach a middle income level in 2030.

An official of the Ministry of Education who proxied for Madam Etmonia David Tarpeh, Liberia’s outgoing Minister of Education noted that a conducive learning environment, a well structured educational system and emphasis on the sciences are means that will elevate the country’s productive sector and make it a middle income country.

He also stressed teachers’ education and employment of qualified teachers as well as heavy investment in the country’s educational sector as a means of moving forward to achieve the goal set for 2030.

University of Liberia (UL) president, Dr. Emmett Dennis who also served as a panelist noted that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and recommended the setting up of an education tax basically coming from the country’s natural resources.

Dr. Dennis also recommended that a moratorium be placed on the establishment of new institutions of higher learning and concentration be carried out relative to the enhancement of sound and quality higher education.

He also recommended the establishment of a standard criterion upon which the staff of the institutions of higher learning can be evaluated.

Labor Minister, Neto Zarzar Lighe for his part called for institutions of a career awareness program and the upgrading of the manpower survey of the country. He also acknowledged that universities and colleges must be empowered to train those who must work come 2030.

He stressed that the capacity of learning institution must be built to better provide training for those who are to work and stressed that technical and vocational institutions must work with the various concessions in the country in a bid to build capacity.

Minister Lighe also spoke about the launching of a data base for the Labor Market in the country and a Labor Market Information System, the provision of technical and vocational training so as to create opportunities for Liberians.

The Director General of National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) Dr. Michael Slewon also stressed that Liberia cannot only depend on outside help to ensure or guarantee quality education for its people and recommended that some local institutions be set up for such a purpose.

He noted that overcrowdiness of classrooms for the University of Liberia to cope with present day reality must be able to employ an additional four hundred competent and qualified instructors.

Dr. Slewon also called for the strengthening of the country’s institutions of higher learning so as to ensure quality higher education.

Gender and social welfare Minister Madam Julia Duncan Cassel stressed that emphasis must be placed on the education of the girl child because when one educates a woman they educate a family and nation.

Madam Cassell said women education in Liberia must be placed high on the agenda to erase such social and cultural issues which indicate that a woman must be seen and not heard.

Earlier, RiverCess County Senator who is the head of the Senate Committee on Education, Dallas Gueh said the goal of reaching the middle income goal begins in the classroom and stressed that education is important for the stability of the country.

Senator Gueh said education must be declared a national security issue due to circumstances that did occur during the Liberian civil war. He urged the Government of Liberia to take education seriously if the country must reach the middle income country level by 2030.

The launching of a report of a survey conducted by the Governance Commission (GC) entitled “Reaching the Middle Income Country Goal: the Human Capacity Issues” was held at the ceremony in Monrovia.