— “It is crucial that the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Foundation does not fail the future generations of Liberian children knowing that it has the potential to drive economic growth and development," says business tycoon Upjit Singh Sachdeva.
Liberia’s oldest education foundation has been warned that playing a blind eye to the lack of digital skills among many Liberians would harm the country in the future.
The warning for business tycoon Upjit Singh Sachdeva to the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Educational Foundation comes as Liberia suffers from a digital literacy rate, with the divide between rural and urban areas remaining significant.
Sachdeva noted that the if the foundation does not invest in building digital labs across the country, generations of Liberians would be lost, and skillfully unacceptable.
“When we empower future generations of Liberians to be innovative and creative, we give them the tools they need to create a better future for themselves and their communities,” Sachdeva said in a speech, commemorating the 214th birth anniversary of Liberia’s first president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts.
“Therefore, the Foundation cannot afford to continue with the old ways of doing things by just giving scholarships without investing in digital education. Doing so regularly means sending a generation of Liberians into the 21 century with 20th-century skill.”
Sachdeva noted that the late president Roberts made it imperative to fund the education of generations of Liberians because he wanted them to be empowered with time.
This vision, according to him, should never die. Therefore, the administrators of the foundation should pull all resources internally and externally to address the country’s growing digital divide for the future of Liberia.
“It is crucial that the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Foundation does not fail the future generations of Liberian children knowing that it has the potential to drive economic growth and development. Digitally savvy generations are innovative and creative thinkers who create new products and services, which can create jobs, boost productivity, and contribute to economic growth,” he said.
“Liberia needs this kind of generation of people who are not afraid to think outside the box and come up with new and effective ways to tackle these challenges.”
Sachdeva noted that the foundation’s administrators and the board of trustees cannot afford to let go of this opportunity while the rest of the world races ahead, saying, “It has to be seized.”
Sachdeva, however, expressed the hope that the next job-creating discoveries can come from Liberia when investment is prioritized in digital education.
“President Roberts knew that the future is not one of the strong economies, nor is it one where fragile states can find their footing; but one that moves with ideas to power to change. And ideas come with education… and for him, education is what powers the world and what sets countries apart.”
“Whether through public-private partnerships or other initiatives, he added that the Foundation must take action now to build a future where everyone has the chance to thrive considering that Liberia has one of the youngest populations in the world, with over 60% of the population being under the age of 25.”
He recalled that President Roberts was a man of unique purpose — and for this reason, he left in his will, properties, and hard cash to fund the establishment of a “PERPETUAL FOUNDATION — knowing that knowledge is power and should therefore not be possessed by few individuals.
Sachdeva spoke on the theme: “Preparing A Generation Of Innovative And Creative Young Minds; A Panacea to Accelerating Future Growth And Development.”
“I wish that the Board of Trustees can kick start the project in Weala Margibi County. I am ready to provide computers and internet service in that regard.”