Liberia: 'Declare Education National Security Emergency'

... Senator Gueh recommends to gov't.

While the government and education stakeholders make efforts to improve the sector to the best that would produce the caliber of qualified Liberians, River Cess Senator Dallas Gueh has called for the need to declare education a 'national security emergency.' This, Gueh believes, would bring the education system to its pre-war status.

Sen. Gueh's recommendation was contained in a statement he delivered at the ongoing Ministry of Education (MoE) sponsored Joint Education Sector Review (JESR) in Ganta, the commercial hub of Nimba County from November 18-22, 2019.

He said the country's education system is in crisis and therefore needs to be declared a national security emergency so as to claim international attention.

Sen. Gueh chairs the Senate Committee of the 54th Legislature on Education, and also a former education officer for River Cess County. He said that Liberia's Education System was one of the best in Africa, where most revolutionaries from Southern Africa came and acquired their education.

He believes that access to education as a basic human rights is linked to better lives for children and youth that are desirous to acquire sound and vibrant education in emergencies to provide immediate physical and psycho-social protection, as well as life-saving knowledge and skills with respect to disease prevention; self-protection and awareness of rights.

Gueh said research has proven that if children and youth receive safe education of good quality during and after an emergency, they will be exposed less frequently to activities that put them at risk.

"They will also acquire knowledge and mental resources that increase their resilience and help them to protect themselves by enhancing these protection benefits a recorded in one of the United Nations agencies reports, he said.

"Today," Gueh added, "Our education system has completely collapsed to the extent that anybody claiming to be educated here can do anything in the public space; and now people from our sister countries, some of them passed through the wall of the University of Liberia (UL) have now constructed some of the best universities now in other parts of Africa."

Sen. Gueh also stressed the need for authorities at the MoE to begin implementing the 2011 Education Policy to make the system effective by bringing quality to the core.

He also called on the MoE to license all teachers as another means of improving the sector, adding, "If teachers are licensed, all the unqualified ones would be rooted out of the system."

"If medical practitioners and legal practitioners, as well as other professionals are licensed, then what about teachers, who teach the professionals," the Senator rhetorically inquired.

The ongoing Joint Education Sector Review is an annual event, where education stakeholders gather to brainstorm on how to make the education system vibrant.

This year's event is taking place in Ganta, where all partners in the education sector and other visiting experts from The Gambia and in the Philippians are also present.

In his keynote address, Dr. Nelson also stressed the need of implementing the existing education policies, if there is any and if not, a policy should be put in place to guard the education sector.

He noted that the education sector over the years faced difficulties ranging from poor infrastructure insufficient finance or funding, lack of policies or lack of the implementation of the existing police, the wrong mind - set and among others.

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