President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf has told graduates of the 93rd Class of the University of Liberia (UL) that it will be difficult for many of them to find jobs. According to President Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia is desperately in need of graduates from the colleges of sciences and engineering.
The Liberian leader stated that Liberia needs professional engineers and scientists that would work in the country's petroleum and mining sectors. She noted that agriculturists and qualified teachers are also lacking within the Liberian society. She made these comments on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 when she served as the convocation speaker at the 93rd graduation exercises of the UL. The graduation exercises were held at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. Over 1000 students from various field of disciplines graduated from the state-owned university.
Although the President did not directly state why many of the UL graduates will find it difficult to find jobs, she observed that many of the graduates do not come from the colleges of sciences and engineering, and henceforth, they could not be employed easily, unlike professional engineers and scientists as well as agriculturists and qualified teachers which Liberia badly needs to work in the country's petroleum, mining and agriculture sectors.
Speaking further, the Liberian leader, who is also the visitor to the UL, emphasized that more agriculturists are needed in order to support government's food security programs. She said the country also needs teachers to improve the quality of education in order to produce what she called "an educated nation" in keeping with the Vision 2030 agenda.
She pointed out that Liberia would only become a middle income country if the adult illiteracy rate is reduced.
According to her, over 41% of adult in Liberia are illiterate. "As I review the list of you, the graduates I foresee some difficulty in finding jobs for many of you graduating today.
We have made our medical, agriculture, and teacher colleges free, but yet our young people do not enter these colleges in sufficient number. Today for whatever reason we have a single doctor, there is one pharmacist who is graduating in a post conflict country that desperately needs engineers, scientists and teachers. 925 of you (graduates) are coming out of the business college compare to 146 graduating from the college of science and technology; 106 from agriculture and 65 from teachers college," the President said.
The President maintained: "We need a revival; we need a rethink and re-orientation because now, more than ever before we need graduates in the sciences to work in our country petroleum and mining sectors. We need agriculturists to support our work in food security and food sovereignty. We can only become a middle income country if we sharply reduce the adult illiteracy rate of over 41%."
While underscoring the need for more investment in tertiary education in post conflict Liberia, the Chief Executive observed that tertiary education plays an 'indispensable role' to Liberia's national development plan. She said broad base development and transformation rest substantially on the development of human skills, and as such, it is the task of every government to educate its people.
She noted that the economic development and accomplishment of Liberia largely depends on investment in tertiary education. President Johnson- Sirleaf said every nation depends on its human capital to move forward in terms of growth and development.
However, the President congratulated the graduates for their accomplishment. She urged them to be fearless in pursuing their goals and utilize the knowledge acquired properly. She further urged the graduates to help contribute positively to the development of the country adding that, "rebuilding Liberia is the collective responsibility of all Liberians."