30 August 2017

Liberian Senate Summons Education Minister Over Facebook Post

Photo: FrontPage Africa
Education Minister George Werner

Monrovia — The Liberian Senate has expressed concerns over a recent statement attributed to the Minister of Education Minister George Werner on his Facebook post in which questioned the efficacy of holding debates as a means of attracting votes in the upcoming Liberia.

"What's the purpose of political debates in Liberia, and who are the debates for?

In a communication, members of the Senate summoned Mr. Werner to appear before Plenary to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for publicly undermining the education in Liberia.

Many Liberians and social media users were taken aback that a man who is charged with the responsibility of developing the country's education system could question the essence of education in a post on social media.

Liberia's education system is devastated and remains one of the worst in the region - yet to him, education is not what it takes to develop a country.

The Minister asked in his post: "Where's the evidence that a candidate became president in Liberia because s/he was a great debater?

Let those who manage the candidates advise them to campaign to their strengths. Don't debate if it isn't your strength.

"There are many other ways to articulate your platform or vision for the country."

"The debates could be a setup by the meritocratic elite (for the elite) to show how educated and knowledgeable they are."

He added: "It's been an essential part of Liberian history, of exclusion even, to eliminate the perceived uneducated through "book" talk."

"Read between the lines and see the edited videos of Weah's speeches on social media. Da book talk we'll eat?

For those who are surprised by this post, I haven't changed my views since 2004."

For Werner, many politicians flex their intellectualism to roll up lies to the ordinary people who have limited education.

He went on to write: "They like hiding behind books to lie to the people.

How does a debate, an intellectual exercise, help you to "live Liberia, think Liberia, and love Liberia"? By the way, who won the debates in 2005 and 2011? Where are they now?"

He continued: "To the book people, education does not promote equality and shared prosperity. Education alone is not enough to make anyone a "good" leader.

The suggestion that all must participate in debates to justify their quest for leadership and their 'educatedness" is tabata (origin in Kru, anything that does not make sense), to say the least. How about meeting voters in the palava huts, under the trees, in their communities and homes.

"By the way, don't use the schools and break the desks and chairs."

"Advice to all candidates: campaign to your strengths. Don't follow the meritocratic elites' intellectual stagecraft."

"They set it up to their advantage with their unscrupulous recorders and editors."

In a communication, Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff (UP, Montserrado County), said the Education Minister unfortunately does not in the Liberian context, understand the inclination of Global education which is evident by his social media remarks.

"Under the watchful eye of the education Minister, there have been inter high schools and universities debates. So how can he say debate does not make sense and in other words it is Tabata according to him in the Kru origin?

"Honourable presiding and Distinguished Colleagues, I kindly request your indulgence to appeal to the requisite committee to invite the Education Minister to this plenary and show reason why he should not be held in contempt for undermining our Education system."

The Minister has been summoned to appear Thursday, August 31, 2017.

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