Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah has called on Liberians to look to global standards and principles of nationhood as 2017 draws closer.
Speaking at the 4th Commencement Exercises at the Bomi County Community College, (BCCC) last Saturday in Tubmanburg, he said the standards include the rule of law, a governance system which is accountable and has the trust of the people and an economic system based on free enterprise and competition with the object to meet the needs of the consumer.
Senator Saytumah said a functioning state requires the above recommendations, along with qualified and conscientious human resource.
He admitted that since the cessation of violence and hostilities in Liberia, “our educational system remains broken.” The dismal performance and poor results of students in the annual regional examinations, compared to the success of students from other West African countries, confirm the broken educational system of the country.
The failure of Liberian students in WAEC examinations means fewer Liberian students enter and complete colleges, which he said is not a good picture for Liberia.
Discussing the link between education and poverty, Senator Saytumah quoted a World Bank report on its Human Development Index (HDI) and illustrated it with developments in Israel, Botswana and Ghana which Liberia lags behind.
In the HDI rank, Israel is 18th, Botswana is 106th, Ghana is 140th and Liberia is 177th of the total number of 188, he said.
In the expected years of schooling category in the Index, Israel has 16 years, Botswana is 12.5 years, Ghana is 11.5 years and Liberia is 9.5.
“Israel has a Very High HDI; Botswana is Medium High, Ghana is Medium High and Liberia is Low HDI,” Senator Saytumah noted. “The trend is, the higher the number of years in school has a direct relationship to per capita income and HDI classification.”
He said there is much work to be done and therefore to kick start the reconstruction efforts, it has been necessary to contract expatriate expertise and skills which has proven expensive and has reduced greatly the impact of donor support and loans to Liberia.
To fix the problem, he said “We need to go beyond talk and oration to begin taking concrete and incremental steps to reverse this downward slide of the educational system.
“When I said we, I am speaking to my distinguished colleagues of the House and Senate; I am speaking to the Legislature’s partner in the governance of the Republic and thirdly I am speaking to citizens,” he said.
Senator Saytumah urged his colleagues to put into action the constitutional mandate to coordinate for the national good to develop the human resource by first resolving that this is an urgent national crisis and then ensuring that the budgetary appropriations for education commensurate with the execution of the derived policies and programs of the sector.
Directing attention to the Bomi County Community College, Senator Saytumah commended the 54 graduates in the various disciplines but urged Bomi County citizens to guide BCCC religiously.
“Looking at the disastrous situation at hand, the Community College must transfer skills and knowledge that will enable its graduates to easily contribute to development, earn a livelihood or engage in entrepreneurial ventures,” he said.
“The constitution has reserved to the Legislature the power to appropriate while the power to expend the national budget and to execute policies, programs is reserved to the Executive Branch,” he said. “I suggest that our two branches coordinate, collaborate, dialogue in a spirit of mutual respect with a view to remedying this national calamity.
“The Ministry of Education and the Commission for Higher Education must ensure a revised curriculum is designed to accommodate long time school leavers and over-aged students.
“And the Ministry of Education must ensure that high schools are centrally located in Bomi and other counties, and that each high school is supported by centers of learning, which shall include consist of a library, Internet and computers.”