At least 300 young men and women attending the Liberia Dujar Technical College (LDTC) might get frustrated and soon turn their backs on vocational and technical education if financial woes now affecting the college are not mitigated.
The College said it needs at least US$127,000 to keep it afloat and running smoothly so that young Liberians can continue to get “sound and quality vocational and technical education.”
Students attending the institution pay seven US dollars per credit.
The College, which is located in the Barnesville Estate Community, operates five degree granting departments, which are needed in the reconstruction and development process of Liberia. Those departments include General Agriculture, Professional Nursing, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
Authorities of LDTC, which is an NGO-run institution, told the Observer that in order to help diminish the financial problems, they as administrators have decided to hold a one-day symposium this Friday. During the seminar they are expected to highlight the plight of the College and to raise or mobilize the needed funds for its operation and sustainability, from the “dignitaries” and others that have been invited.
Other things the authorities of LDTC wish to achieve through the symposium include creating awareness on the existence of the College and seeking financial and material support as well as sponsorship for its five departments.
“The authorities of the Technical College wish to use this medium to prevail on those personalities invited to the symposium to attend in the supreme interest of youth employability, sustainability and reconstruction of war-torn Liberia,” they said in a statement, as they appeal to all the invitees to turn up for the symposium.
The symposium, is expected to be held under the theme, “Technical and Vocational Education-the Way Forward for Sustainable Development and Youth Employability for Liberia.”
The Liberian Dujar Technical College was accredited by the Ministry of Education’s Higher Learning Commission on May 9, 2011.
Since the construction of the college by the Swedish-based Liberia Dujar Association (LDA) in 2010, it had been heavily sponsored by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), until it (SIDA) finally stopped its support to the institution in 2012.
The college’s administrators have struggled to cope with the financial burden in running the institution and don’t want to add to the amount the students presently pay per credit.
The Liberian education system has been severely affected by the years of civil war. Few months ago President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described country’s education sector as a “mess.” Many schools, colleges and other training institutions were closed down during the years of war; and the few remaining ones were operating on an ad hoc basis. Qualified teachers were either killed in the conflict or left the country, which seriously affected the human infrastructure of the education sector. School buildings were looted and destroyed as were teaching materials and libraries. This led to an almost complete collapse of the education system in the country.
Therefore, in Liberia there are today a large number of over-aged students. Some of the older students feel too ashamed to sit in classes with younger students and therefore chose to work in the informal sector.
Many children and youth do not have access to quality education services. Often public schools are over-crowded and not properly managed due to a lack of resources.