FORMER Liberian Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr., who is also of Unity Party (UP) candidate for the 2023 presidential election, says under his leadership appointed officials of government will be banned from sending their children abroad for their basic education, Kindergarten through High School.
Boakai emphasised that ‘Officials found in violation shall be immediately replaced so that they do not use public money to support the education of their children abroad while other children are left to cope with dilapidated public schools all over our country.’
In a keynote speech at the Third Convocation and Matriculation Service of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary in Paynesville, noted that the country’s education system has not improved much since former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described it as a ‘Mess’ on this same Baptist Seminary campus in 2012.
He therefore listed several action plans or policies he would undertake immediately to begin the reform of the present state of education, which he termed as having degraded from ‘mess’ to ‘deplorable’ under the Weah-led government.
He also said government will provide local scholarships for tertiary education and introduce a National Youth Service programme for graduates to be employed immediately after completion of their two-year service period both in the public and private sectors. ‘This will be facilitated by the government, so that our young people are empowered and not seen walking around looking for employment,’ he said.
Other educational reforms he outlined included: (1) Increasing the National Budget for Education, as Liberia is far below the average percentage allocated for education by other countries in our sub-region; (2) Banning all officials of the Ministry of Education from operating their own private schools and (3) Re-introducing Government’s foreign scholarships for high school graduates to study abroad based on merit and academic excellence and with good conduct.
Boakai added, ‘These initial policies on education reform are based on my belief that if all children, whether from rich or poor families, received their free and compulsory basic education in Liberia, every stakeholder, especially parents, will be involved in making sure that our schools around the country, especially the public schools, are transformed.’
Addressing the 41 students who matriculated, and a packed auditorium of administrators, professors, students, and family members, Boakai reminded the students that their academic years will be full of ‘uncertainties’ occasioned by the prevailing Covid-19 conditions globally and the poor leadership and governance of Liberia that has made the Liberian people to become ‘hopeless’ about real change.
Reassuring the students, Boakai said uncertainty may also exist in the job market by the time they graduate, but this does not mean that they will not ultimately profit from years of hard work and dedication in getting their degrees. He therefore urge them to have no self-doubt and not give in to the forces of darkness and despair Liberians are presently experiencing in the nation.