28 November 2017

Liberia: Leave Education With Educators - Dr. Michael Slawon

Monrovia — The Director General of the National Commission on Higher Education, Dr. Michael P. Slawon, has urged politicians in the Country to leave education matters with educators.

Dr. Slawon said politicizing education will not help improve the sector.

"Just fund the sector and leave the rest of the work with the technicians," Dr. Slawon stated.

Speaking to this newspaper, Dr. Slawon said it was unthinkable for politicians to mix politics with education only to satisfy themselves.

"This is wrong and it must stop."

Speaking further, he warned 12 graders to remain in their respective classes and allow their various student leaderships to work for them.

His statement is in reference to the recent huge visit of 12 graders at the CDC headquarters asking that party's leadership to help pay their WASSCE fees.

The Higher Education Director General fears mass failure in the 2018 WASSCE exams if students continue to abandon classes in the name of fetching for WASSCE fees when they should be learning and preparing for the tests especially when it is the first time for it to be administered in the country this academic 2017/18 school year.

Recently, the Chief Government Nominee to West African Examination Council Liberia office, Romell Horton, called on all parents of 12 graders to get prepared to underwrite the costs of the WASSCE Exams as the Ministry of Education (MOE) is not financially capacitated to shoulder the responsibility this time around.

The students began looking for other avenues to help shoulder their costs.

Speaking further, Dr. Slawon said that he is not against students trying to be independent in the mist of the current hardship.

"What I want is for them to follow the right channel which I think should be through their respective student leadership."

He at the same time encouraged former Student leaders of the state-owned University of Liberia to act promptly in the case of student protests.

He specifically wants Mr. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Cllr. Tiawon Gonglo, to intervene into the current saga at the university by speaking to the students, who, he thinks will listen to them.

"It is important for past student and national leaders to always share their past experiences on some issues at the university," he stressed.

According to him, this will alleviate some of the many protest actions and other problems at the university.

On the developments at the Grand Bassa Community College, Dr. Slawon foresees problems at the Grand Bassa County Community in the absence of a written policy to work with at the Grand Bassa Community College (GBCC).

According to the charter that created the College the Board of Trustees is under obligation to craft rules and regulations including policies, which the President of the College will fully implement.

Since the establishment of the College in 2010 said policy is yet to be put in place, according to him.

This, Dr. Slawon, noted led to several problems at the college including the recent suspension of the GBCC president, Dr. Nathaniel Gbessagee.

Dr. Gbessagee argued that he has been finding it difficult to work in the absence of written policy.

But the board's recent decision was due to his allege refusal to take directives and or instructions from them.

"We have a good system in place for the education sector but all we need to do is to give it a chance to function effective and let us try to discourage interference from all angles with emphasis on politicians," Dr. Slawon averred.

Since he took over at the Higher Education Commission, there has been massive improvement as evidence by the establishment of community colleges across the country; the increase in enrollment of students in tertiary education nationwide, among others.


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