The Country Station Administrator of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has challenged the Government of Liberia (GOL) to set hard standards for quality education in the country.
Mr. Lawrence Morris said hard standards in education would enable Liberian students, as future leaders of the country to face the challenges ahead.
Mr. Morris made the remarks at program marking the 2011/2012 kindergarten and 12th grade graduation of the New Hope Academy on Peace Island in Paynesville.
The IITA country administrator indicated that meeting the basic needs of educational institutions through budgetary support, capacity building, and policy formulation among others would go a long way in putting the nation's educational system on the proper trajectory.
Turning to the graduates, Mr. Morris cautioned them to rise above acts that have the potential to undermine their educational growth and development.
"Take responsibility for your lives, education, and set positive goals for yourselves and the larger society," he stressed.
"I am calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education and do everything you can to achieve them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending some time each day reading a book. Maybe you'll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity or volunteer in your community. Maybe you'll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe that all young people deserve a safe environment to study. Maybe you'll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn," he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Richardson K. Wingbah, Valedictorian of the 12th Grade called on fellow graduates to represent the positive image of the Academy at all times, and remain consistently focus on their educational sojourn to ensure a guaranteed future for Liberia.
For her part, the valedictorian of the Kindergarten class, Genevie Kollie, cautioned her fellow graduates and other students to show determination in pursuit of their positive goals for success in life.
Ms. Kollie outlined preparation, eagerness and competition and time as four of the cardinal steps for success in education.
About 53 students including twenty twelve graders and thirty-three from the kindergarten class graduated.
The occasion, according to the Principal of the New Hope Academy, Wolobah Dennis, marks the Academy's tenth and sixteenth 12 grade and kindergarten graduation respectively.
Meanwhile, Mr. Subozu Roberts, Chairman of the Peace Island Community, has called on the Government of Liberia to fulfill a pledge previously made to improve the community road linking Peace Island to other parts of Monrovia. Floods, erosions and other deplorable conditions of the road prevents students of New Hope Academy and other schools on the Island from attending classes, while more than fifteen thousand residents of the community are restricted from leaving or coming to the Island.
The situation is also caused by heavy floods which often overlapped the road during heavy down pour of rain, Mr. Roberts alarmed.
Also making remarks at the graduation ceremony, the proprietor of the Academy, Rev. Augustine S. Arkoi, cautioned parents and guardians throughout the country to provide extra care for their children as they (children strive for quality education for better future.
This, he said, would ensure that all return to school safe and sound to continue their academic sojourn.
He named some of the problems with the potential to undermine children's development as teenage and unwanted pregnancies, prostitution, among others.
Rev. Arkoi, at the same time, described as a shame for Liberia, a post-war country that is striving for reconstruction to be rated as having one of the highest recorded teenage pregnancies in the world.
He, at the same time, called on parents, guardians, school authorities and the government of Liberia to collectively work towards improving the situation for the betterment of the country.
Rev. Arkoi reiterated that New Hope Academy, would continue to work in partnership with the Africa-Asia Destitute Relief Foundation (ADRF) of South Korea and other partners in expanding the Academy's scholarship program to other parts of Liberia.
More than 150 at-risked youths and children of underprivileged families benefited from scholarship during the past academic year.
Rev. Arkoi is meanwhile calling on educational stakeholders to provide more support to students and other youths for to have access to quality and affordable education consistent with Liberia's as aspirations in line with the millennium Development Goals.