A three-day meeting of the Mano River Union (MRU) Technical Commission on Education and Research has ended in Monrovia, with a call for more investment and development in education and training in MRU countries. The meeting brought together several top delegates, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers, amongst others from MRU countries.
Sierra Leone's Foreign Minister Mr. Samora Kamara, Liberia's Education Minister Edmonia Tarpeh, and the Deputy Secretary General of MRU Mr. Simeon Mulbah were part of the delegates.
The meeting commenced from February 13-15, 2013. Speaking at the climax of the meeting, the Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, Dr. Marcus Dahn, said: "Low access to quality education is no education at all."
He said many people do not have access to quality education across the MRU basin due to "widespread abject poverty." He stated that the lack of "gainful and purposeful employment to make citizens productive" remains a major challenge in many MRU countries.
Despite the challenges, Dr. Dahn indicated that the MRU countries have decided to brainstorm to put in place strategies and policies in order to strengthen the educational and research systems in their respective countries.
He said MRU countries must remain focus and determine in order to integrate activities, indicators and policies that would impact their countries' educational systems. He further stressed the need for collaboration and coordination amongst MRU countries, especially in the areas of education, training and research.
The government official then called for the rejuvenation of an "integrated and high quality training and research framework that would produce productive societies that citizens deserved." Also speaking, Deputy Agriculture Minister for Administration, Mr. Charles McClain, called for the empowerment of farmers through training and tertiary education within MRU countries.
He said farmers must be educationally empowered in order to ensure food security in the MRU basin. In Liberia, Deputy Minister McClain pointed out that about 70% of the population relies on farming, and as such, more support must be provided in the area of training and education.
For his part, the Deputy SG of the MRU, Mr. Simeon Mulbah, disclosed that that leaders of MRU countries have made significant strides in the area of education.
However, he said the MRU countries must continue to do more in order to ensure that education is affordable for all.
He named "civil war" as one of the primary factors that contributed to the backwardness of the educational sector of several MRU countries including Liberia. Mr. Mulbah used the occasion to call on MRU leaders to "do what needs to be done" for their citizens.