Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has called on Liberian students not to only rely on classrooms lessons, but to get involved with extra-curriculum activities.
Such activities, according to Minister Ngafuan, will include students’ participations in intellectual debates, drama, speech deliberations, amongst others.
Minister Ngafuan made the comment when he delivered a keynote address at the Centennial Pavilion on the theme, “Building a Scholarly Character in the Liberian Student,” at program marking the launch of the Inter-High School National Debate.
The ceremony brought together representatives of over 30 high schools and other institutions of learning across the country.
The ‘Mock debate’ held on the topic: “The Importance of WAEC before and after Graduation,” was organized by Building Emergency Leaders Firm, Inc. under the auspices of the Ministry of Education (MOE).
“My acceptance of the invitation is informed by my belief that the institutionalization of the culture of debates among high school students by no less than the (MOE) is a record breaking accomplishment that will go a long way in solidifying the foundations of education and intellectualism in our country and transforming many a young person from mediocrity to excellence; hence, I could not afford not to be supportive of this transformation initiative,” Minister Ngafuan declared.
Quoting from a phrase of the late former South African President, Nelson Mandela, Minister Ngafuan informed the students that no country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.
Therefore, he said, education or proper intellectual cultivation is not only acquired within the rectangular walls of a classroom, but comes from years of positive socialization and conditioning acquired from different sources; experiences and places.
Earlier, the organizer of the debates, managing partner of BEL Firm, Chupee W.G. Howe said, the Liberian civil crises rendered its educational opportunities scarce.
As such, the government through the MOE established as its goal the provision of equal access to education opportunities and facilities for all citizens to the extent of available resources, regardless of age, disability, and gender.
According to Mrs. Howe, despite all of MOE’s efforts, the educational system is confronted with numerous challenges particularly with the issue of retention; the dropout rates as well as overage students.
To address some of challenges, she said, her organization designed a new and system of education that would involve debates and intellectual activities bringing together the student populace.
Students who participated in yesterday’s ‘mock debates’ included Hector G. Toe, Celine Gray, Gifty E. Kordor, Israel Samuels, Romena Dennis and Amos Holder.
Officials of education including the Deputy Minister for Instruction, Hawa Goll-Kotchi and Assistant Minister T. Wilson Gaye were among the guests that attended the ceremony.
Others in attendance included the ambassadors of Cameroun, Beng’Yela Augustine Gang, La Côte d’Ivoire, Kapieletien Soro, Ghana, Kojo Asimeng Wadee and Guinea, Alhaji Abdoulaye Doré, and a representative from the Nigeria Embassy.