The Better Future Foundation, BFF, has described as unfortunate, troubling, and academic abortion the prolonged closure of academic institutions in the country by the Government of Liberia.
BFF said the continued closure of schools since the Ebola outbreak in the country without the government, through the Ministry of Education, establishing the necessary safety measures and a clear roadmap for resumption of classes has the potential to retard the educational development of Liberian youths and students on whose shoulders the future of the nation rests.
“It is tantamount to a deliberate and calculated ploy by the ruling class to undermine the educational dreams and aspirations of current generation of Liberian youths and students to be on par with others in this era of increasing global development and peace-building challenges,” BFF said in a statement issued in Monrovia over the weekend.
BFF added that it is more disappointing and heartbreaking that the constitutional right of Liberians to education which over the years has been grossly violated by past regimes for political and other pecuniary gains remains a casualty under the current Liberian government under the pretext of fighting Ebola.
The Foundation further accentuated that the visible neglect of education by the current government for nearly a year has not only created a sad state of affair but also perfected the existence of an indefinite and unacceptable impasse for learning in Liberia from kindergarten to university levels.
BFF maintains that while the Liberian government is fighting to halt the spread of the Ebola Virus, it is its inescapable responsibility to ensure that Liberian citizens are better prepared through education in ensuring their effective participation in the socioeconomic and political development of the country.
“The government cannot escape this cardinal responsibility and blame the situation on fighting Ebola,” the statement, signed by BFF Secretariat indicated.
According to the BFF, the Liberian government needs to demonstrate smart leadership which lies in the ability to successfully regulate, control and address circumstances as diametrically opposed to using the Ebola situation to deprive its citizens their fundamental and constitutional right to education.
“While the fight against Ebola in Liberia is a worthy cause that requires the involvement and support of well-meaning people and organizations at home and abroad, it should never be used by the ruling establishment as a smokescreen to perpetuate the country’s predominately youthful population in ignorance and abject poverty.
“Education is a right and not a privilege,” BFF stressed, challenging President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to work towards restoring such basic right which is being indirectly denied the citizens through the government’s actions and inactions.
The Foundation, at the same time, called on the International Community to assist the Liberian government in treating the resumption of learning activities in the country as a matter of urgency and a cross-cutting issue in its Ebola Response Efforts, and in line with the country’s commitment to achieving the educational benchmark as enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).