The president of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) has called stakeholders in the educational system, especially those at the tertiary level, to become more innovative if the system is to improve in the next couple of years.
Dr. Joseph Isaac noted that the adoption of innovative ideas will help to achieve this feat and place the country on par with its regional and continental neighbors.
He made the statement recently at the signing ceremony of a Dual Degree granting collaborative effort between his institution and the Nimba County Community College. The effort, according to the AMEU boss, is an innovative way of providing access to quality education for rural students.
This initiative provides students enrolled at NCCC with an excellent pathway to earn quality, accessible, and affordable Associate and Bachelor degrees. Dr Isaac and NCCC president, Dr. Yar D. Gonway-Gono, signed for their respective institutions.
Dr. Isaac noted, “Our education system is in such a deplorable state as a result of lack of innovation; this is why I want to encourage all stakeholders in the sector to start to think outside of the box and begin to take innovative approaches such as what we are embarking on.”
The AMEU boss indicated that innovative approaches should be adopted to help address two major national development issues. Firstly, the overarching problem of Liberia brain-drain and secondly, the need to decentralize socioeconomic development, especially access to higher education.
The complexity and scale of the “brain-drain” exacerbated by the civil crisis and the current demand for decentralized social services required integrated solutions to build around human development, he said.
With the DDP, Dr. Isaac said, “AMEU envisages an ambitious plan that will transform the education system and provide quality education to our leeward county student population.
“One thing we are not doing well is to collaborate internally with all levels of institutions, even with agencies and ministries of government. There are lots of things that we at the universities and colleges can do to solve most of the problems we face in our education system when we collaborate with others.”
It has been well established that in order to accelerate effective and efficient service delivery across Liberia, government and partners, with the private sector included, need to develop and strengthen the capacity of county and local institutions.
Reports indicate that the scarcity of qualified, well-educated youth in Liberia after the civil crisis has created a bottleneck in the supply of labor in professional occupations operated by employers.
Hard-to-fill vacancies identified by employers in Liberia are generally in the areas of higher-skilled professions, such as primary and secondary education, administrative management and managing organization, among others. This we need to turn around if Liberia is to progress, he stated.
Another stakeholder at the ceremony who spoke to the Daily Observer, but asked not to be named, noted that government just began the construction of community colleges in several counties, especially the populated and politically strategic counties, but these seem not to be enough to develop the level or caliber of manpower that the country currently needs.
He noted that the establishment of (CC) across the country are things that should have happened ever since, probably in 1940s, 50s or 60s, but those he describes as self-centered elites have been at the helm of power and controlled the country’s wealth since the establishment of the country, selfishly thought about themselves and their own children, leaving the masses to dawdle in abject power and chronic ignorance (illiteracy).
“It was only upon the ascendency of President Sirleaf that this vision [the building of community colleges, maybe conceived ever since, began to come to fruition.
“The ruling elites were helping countries like South Africa and Namibia fight against apartheid and other segregated systems, though these were being practice right at home where only they and their children had access to the country’s wealth, while the masses lived—and continue to live—in abject poverty and perpetual ignorance.
The tides are now turning and power and influence are leaving the grip of these so called elites, but the greatest fear now is whether the new recipients will work in unity to bring Liberia to where it belongs through patriotism that had been lacking in the past.
The new recipients had the opportunity once but blew it away as a result of tribalism, egoism and greed.