12 October 2012

Liberia Shows Poorly - Save the Children Says of Education - Notes Widened Gap

Photo: Glenna Gordon/UNESCO
A community school in Monrovia.

Liberia is said to have fallen below the capacity range, ranking the lowest in the sub-region, in terms of providing quality education to its people in spite of its grip on writing good programs and policies.

Save The Children, an international non-governmental agency that is working in the areas of education, health and other life-saving sectors, has noted a huge gap between policies and its implementation, something it claimed has paid-off for the decline in the education sector.

In a statement delivered Thursday at a two-day national inter-sectoral policy on early childhood care and development (ECD) working forum with the aim of rolling out and creating awareness, Dr. Chester Shaba, who is the Education Program Manager of the agency said ignoring such a huge gap was not only making gimmick of the education sector but kills the nation and even creates illusions for the child to easily give up to learn.

"Other nations are thriving today," he said, "because they saw the importance of providing quality education to the youth who are tomorrow's leaders, as doctors, lawyers, engineers and so forth."

"In order to have highly qualified doctors, engineers, lawyers, leaders, we cannot wait for tomorrow but must prepare today."

The national inter-sectoral policy on early childhood care and development comes at the right time with the hope to reinvigorate all sectors in providing free primary education which is the foundation of any country, he said.

"Early childhood care and development is the foundation of any country; the future of Liberia that needs to be built today was stifled in the past considering all of these", Dr. Shaba emphasized.

According to Dr. Shaba, since the New Education Reform Act (NERA) provides that a child at age six should automatically be in the sixth grade it is incumbent on all stakeholders including the community, parents, teachers, politicians and civil societies to pull waists to ensure that this education policy is implemented to the fullest.

"Our friends in the West and other developed countries have done a good job by developing ECD policy", he pointed out.

Dr. Shaba added that according to six studies done around Africa and even beyond with respect to Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, Liberia in the ECOWAS region is at the bottom in mathematics, and the sciences.

He used the occasion to call on patriotic Liberians and not those Liberians living oversea to help in this direction.

"Patriotic people do not want such to happen except if you are living oversea or in the USA because this is a fundamental process that determines standard in nation building", Dr. Shaba noted.

He further said the ECD was the foundation for education as good job at this level is likely to do well at primary, secondary, tertiary and professional levels. As the child moves from various levels, the country benefit and it saves the nation.

"Liberia's productivity depends on this policy", Dr. Shaba emphasized.

In an overview, Mannis H. Barclay, National Coordinator for Liberia Education for all Technical Committee (LETCOM) said it is worrisome as to what happen to Liberian children especially between the ages of 2-5 based on factors that affect their learning process.

Mr. Barclay said in the absence of toys children in the rural setting girls are found playing bamboo doll which symbolizes that they are to grow to womanhood and bear babies while boys hold bamboo branches denoting that they are also to carry guns to become either hunter or security guards.

"It is not a magic to see young boys obtaining academic degrees but that of proper planning by all-parents, community, school administrators and the government as well", the LETCOM National Coordinator added.

The two-day national inter-sectoral policy on early childhood care and development takes place at the LETCOM office on Gurley Street in Monrovia.

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