Liberia, the land of liberty is on a wholesome trajectory of recovery and development following years of blood-bathed civil conflict which ruined the nation's infrastructures and created manpower gaps, least to say take away irretrievable precious lives ofthousands of patriotic Liberians.
However, this memorable past is now history and Liberians are more resolved to move forward, complementing the innovative and workable agendas of Africa's first democratically elected female President, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is in the hot driver's seat of our beloved country, mama Liberia backed by some of her able lieutenants.
Indisputably, the hopes and aspirations of Liberians are perpetually sky-rocketing, wishing to see their cherished nation yield the dividends of peace and tranquility including economic growth and development, poverty alleviation, infrastructural improvement, ensuring self-actualization in youthful potentials, capacity building, and salvaging Liberia's image abroad and making her competitively competitive among the comity of nations just to name a few.
Unarguably, this deterministic drive to this 'promised land of semi-milk and honey Liberia' has not and is not going to be what might be termed as 'bread and butter adventure', but one that requires concerted and consolidated efforts from every Liberian irrespective of his or her affiliation.
Intuitively and optimistically glancing atLiberia, one can surmise that this process of inclusivity of Liberians including downtrodden citizens and ensuring they get their entitlements all-encompassing of quality education is being rekindled.
This is pivotal because according to some political pundits, prominent among reasons for Liberia's bitter pastwas marginalization of certain portion of the Liberian populace. One of such formations of the Sirleaf-led Government that has thrown this vice into the dungeon ofhistory and rejuvenated a Liberian dreamof merit and inclusion is the George Werner's led Inter-Ministerial Scholarship Committee (IMSC) team. Since its finalization from Presidential level and subsequent Cabinet Approval in March 2010, theBilateral Scholarships Policy has lived and continues to live to its dogma of 'true-meaning';making scholarships transparent, merit-based, and gender-responsive.
Commenced by Ms.Robtel N. Pailey, 2010-2011, scholarships' provision for deserving and scholarly young Liberians has transcended from a top-secret 'bourgeoisie or elite Liberians thingamajig' to everyone oriented merit-based privilege assetto educationally self-actualize full potentials. Before now, scholarships were barely heard of neither to say granting scholarships' privilegesto ordinary Liberians to go abroad and acquire education. Breaking this nefarious style of exclusion and making it a thing of the past absolutely deserves applauds and chants of 'hearts-up for its proponents.
In furtherance of the fantastic work started by Ms. Pailey, her innovative successor, Mr. George K. Werner from 2011 to present, ably assisted by Rebecca Kwabo, 2010-present and team, the Bilateral Scholarships Policy has got the necessary ingredients of dynamism and enhancement.
Currently, when bilateral scholarships are offered by Liberia's friendly partners, the public is notified through various electronic and print media including radio stations, newspapers and Executive Mansion Website (www.executivemansion.org.lr) amongst others with clear application requirements and procedures vividly stipulated thus leading to the attraction of more competitors for the offered scholarships.
Following this open-approach on scholarships, interested applicants then jump-start a competitive process which takes into account thesubmission of letter of intent, and other academic credentials which when vetted and one meets the minimum prerequisite, he or she is short-listed for an aptitude test intended to justifyonce furtherscholastic competence.
Successful applicants from the mentioned criteria are mandated to be further processed by sitting an interview with the Inter-ministerial Scholarship Committee teamafter which successful proven scholars are short-listed. From all indications, this process is of no doubt open, competitive and merit-based and should be appreciated and progressively consolidated.
Additionally, the George K. Werner chaired IMSC is not simply concerned with the renaissance of new scholars or giving birth to new scholarly babies but ensuring that the born babies have milk and breast to suck. In other words, Mr. Werner and team have transcended beyond recruitment of competent and professional scholars toadvocating and ensuring they have better welfare and undergo their studies in a calm and enjoyable environment and get job placements afterwards to contribute their quotas to Liberia's recovery drives.Retrospectively, several years before the current resurrections, scholarship beneficiaries used to shriek for their allowances even-though they were considered as a drop in a bucket by recipients. Stand to be corrected; presently this is not the case as scholarship recipients' allowances are dispatched in a timely faction.
More importantly, cognizant of global economic living conditions abroad, the IMSC team chaired by Mr.Werner advocated and succeeded in more than doubling the quarterly allowances of Bilateral Scholarship beneficiaries based on their academic levels (Bachelors, Masters, & PhD). Beyond egotistic dispositions,this proposal from the IMSC chaired by Mr. Werner and its subsequent Cabinet approval is a laudable venture and it deserves heartfelt commendationsnot only from current scholarship beneficiaries and prospective scholarship recipients, but every meaningful Liberian.
In continuation of archetypal job, the IMSC has intervened in the purported clamor from the Liberian Dental and Medical Board concerning China trained medical scholars of Liberia, thus advancing salient and logical recommendations that could eventually lead to laying the matter to its un-resurrected end as China remains one of Liberia's best partners especially in the area of human capacity building.
These endeavors, among numerous unmentioned others, undertaken by the George K. Werner led Inter-ministerial Scholarship Committee teamneed not to go unnoticed as it is often said give man his flowers why he is alive. For us recipients of the Government of Liberia's Bilateral Scholarships, these ventures are a good sign and show of an epitome of exemplary and visionary leadership.
Therefore, we are humble and over-elated to say hearts-up to Mr. George K. Werner led Inter-ministerial Scholarship Committee team. We say bravo and continue your magnanimous and excellent job. Long live the George K. Werner Inter-ministerial Scholarship Committee team; long live the Republic of Liberia.
About the author:Charles Gbollieis a Master's Degree candidate (Educational Psychology), Central China Normal University, Wuhan City, China. He holds BA Degree in Sociology with emphasis in Economics from AMEUniversity and has several certificates to his credit. He has over five years of work experience.