Better Future Foundation (BFF) has characterized as disappointing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s State of the Nation address with respect to education.
BFF said the President’s address before the joint session of the National Legislature on Monday, failed miserably in providing a clear roadmap aimed at genuine solutions to the nation’s education dilemma.
According to BFF leader Augustine Arkoi, it is unimaginable for President Sirleaf to continue to offer mere diagnoses and prescriptions as opposed to correcting the so called mess in the country’s educationa system.
In a statement issued in Monrovia yesterday, the foundation also expressed disdain and repugnance for the President’s declaration that “Education remains a number one priority in the development of Liberia and the most difficult to show positive results in a short term.”
BFF, which is an advocacy group, said such a declaration by the President is not only mindboggling, but also serves as a testimony of her government’s neglect of education after spending nine years in power with full control of state resources.
“It is also troubling for President Sirleaf to tell the nation that government succeeded in the achievement of quantity goals by increased enrollment of students, but the quality of education has declined even further,” the organization pointed out in their statement.
Arkoi insists that Pres. Sirleaf was elected to state power by the Liberian people to design appropriate and implementable policies and programs aimed at providing, among others, basic social services including education which would enable Liberians to not only contribute effectively to national development, but also meet other development challenges in the global community.
“It is unacceptable for our President to accord lip-service to education which is a constitutional right and not a privilege for the Liberian people,” he declared.
“It is time for the Liberian government to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to the Liberian people by ensuring uninterrupted access to quality and affordable education for all Liberians with the use of state resources”, BFF said.
However, the group said it concurred with and applauded the President when she disclosed that the Ministry of Education would begin a review and update of government’s Comprehensive Educational Reform Program.
However, BFF advanced the need for the government to incorporate Distant Learning in the country’s Education curriculum.
According to BFF, distant learning which includes reading of academic and professional courses online, if guaranteed under the laws of Liberia, would enable Liberian youth to have access to more educational opportunities as others worldwide.
Meanwhile, the group has called on the government to provide urgently needed subsidies to both public and private schools throughout the country for one academic year so as to avert mass dropouts of students due to lack of income of most parents as a result of the national economic paralysis caused by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in the country.