The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Chinese Graduates Rebuff Critics

Chinese-trained medical students here under the umbrella group, Liberian Association of Chinese Trained Scholars, have hit back at criticism from the medical board about their (students') alleged ineptitude.

The Chair of the Liberia Medical Board and Dentist Association Dr. Robert Kpoto criticized the performance of medical school graduates from China.

"Medical practitioners graduating from Chinese medical schools are performing below expectation."

"They cannot even be compared with doctors here. I mean, they are failure and something must be done about this", said Dr. Kpoto, a veteran bone specialist.

He called on the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Education to suspend all Chinese scholarships for medical students, pending a proper evaluation of candidates.

"I want to think that something might have gone wrong in the selection and vetting processes of these students, who are being given scholarships to study medicines in China," said Prof. Kpoto. Scholarships from the Government of China are issued to the Government of Liberia on a bilateral basis.

Speaking at a news conference in Monrovia on Monday, Professor Kpoto said medical practitioners graduating from Chinese medical schools perform below expectations.

But appearing on a radio talk show Thursday in Monrovia, a group of medical students who have completed their studies in China and were home to contribute their quotas to the health sector, challenged Dr. Kpoto to substantiate his claim. They urged him to publicly clarify the assertion, which they termed as "embarrassing."

The medical graduates think envy or fear factor has a play in the criticisms coming from senior doctors, who may not want to provide the space for young and zealot practitioners to enter the profession.

"They envy young people. If you have problem with the young doctors, why don't call them and talk rather than going to the public?", one of them remarked during the show.

On Tuesday this week, the Director General of the National Commission on Higher Education, Dr. Michael Slawon, disclosed that the commission has no statistics on Chinese universities and colleges that are enrolling students from Liberia.

Speaking to the New Dawn, Dr. Slawon said the Government of Liberia, especially the Commission on Higher Education is not aware whether those universities and colleges are accredited by the Chinese government to offer post graduate degrees.

But one of the graduates maintained during the talk shown that Liberian students going for foreign studies in China are enrolled in some of the best Chinese universities where they met their counterparts from Africa, Asia and other parts of the world.

"We are all proud to study in China, ready to make our contribution", they said.

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