– Introduces Biomedical Technician Program
Attorney Harris Fomba Tarnue, Booker Washington Institute (BWI) Principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), over the weekend advanced several suggestions to the incoming government that if implemented, would prepare and turn the youth into the future workforce required for nation-building.
Tarnue’s suggestions were contained in a statement he delivered over the weekend at the campus in Kakata, Margibi County under the title, “Highlights of State of Affairs of the BWI End of Second Year of Service: January 2016-January 2018.”
“We acknowledge that we are in a critical period in Liberia – national political transition that is burdened with a national economy under stress. In the mist of such challenges that would face the incoming government, all of us need to take practical steps in managing the expectations of Liberians, especially our young people; and one of the surest ways to achieving this is by training and turning our young people into the future workforce required for nation-building,” Atty. Tarnue said.
He called on Liberians, irrespective of status, to remember that Liberia along with the rest of the global community is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. Each of the goals contains specific targets to be achieved over a period of 15 years. Specifically, SDG #4 seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.
Target 4.4 of SDG #4 specifically states the need to “substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship by 2030.”
He added: “We believe that together as Liberians supporting the new government, we will keep Liberia working to achieve higher levels of socioeconomic status.”
He recalled how the Unity Party-led administration took significant actions in supporting the development of youth programs in technical, vocational and education training (TVET).
Therefore, Tarnue called on the incoming administration of President-elect George Weah to begin to appreciate the role and relevance of TVET institutions in ensuring peace and inclusive growth and development, adding: “We look forward to working together in rolling out strategies and programs to develop the talents of our young people to support economic growth and the country’s industrialization.”
BWI, he said, is here to continue contributing to the “critical national challenges” as Liberia begins a new journey in it historic national transition with a popularly elected coalition government that has a rearranged national leadership line-up transitioning from Mrs. President and Mr. Vice President to Mr. President and Mrs. Vice President.
Tarnue believes that Liberia is a record setting country, therefore, he congratulated President-elect and Vice-President-elect, Senators George Weah and Jewel Howard-Taylor, for their overwhelming and popular mandate in the 2017 presidential runoff elections. Not only did he congratulate the President-elect and the Vice President-elect, but also the administrators, faculty, the general staff and the students for their level of support and cooperation in his two years of service.
He then expressed the strong hope and prayers that such a service and corporation would continue as BWI moves beyond national political transition to the continuous search for support to achieve a model center of excellence status.
Biomedical Technician Program
In a related development, Atty. Tarnue told the gathering that the BWI Biomedical Technician Program has been launched with the training of a small team of young graduates, noting, “This team led by our German TVET and Biomedical Technology expert has carried out repairs of medical equipment at a health center in Kakata, one at a clinic on Randall Street, Monrovia, and the institution is now in discussion with other health facilities across the country to provide repair services of their medical equipment.”
These services, he said, are forerunners to setting up a Biomedical Training Center at BWI in collaboration with the BWI Alumni Association of North America (BWIAANA), “as well as our national and international development partners.” The BWIAANA program in Dallas, Texas last year also witnessed the honoring of the ‘Class of 59.’
Progress in 2017 Governance
The BWI Board of Governors has continued its proactive and responsive stance on all matters regarding the operation and management of the institute. “We are grateful to the leadership of the Board to include Chairman Jackson J. Paye and Vice Chairman Ezzat Eid, Chairman Emeritus Kenneth Y. Best and all other members for their commitment in providing guidance, policy direction and working to ensure the sustainability of the institute. In 2017 we completed compilation and printing of two very important policy documents for the institute. These documents will enhance promotion, marketing and branding of the institute.”
As of 2017-2018, Tarnue said BWI’s prospectus and the abridged five year strategic sustainability plan (2017 – 2022) will be the instruments clearly presenting the institute’s vision to the public and her many stakeholders and partners, which BWI education and training are championing.
Additionally, Tarnue said his administration has revised the student handbook with greater participation of student representation for the first time and staff development in continuation and in collaboration with their foremost development implementing partner, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), adding: “We again sent two young staff to Abu Dhabi, the Middle East to the World Skill Day events to expose them to and participate in contemporary skill development.”
2017 BWI Alumni Association Convention in Dallas, Texas, USA
Tarnue said as a result of the institute’s participation in the June-July 2017 Convention of the BWINAANA in Dallas, Texas, the USA, “significant efforts are underway to help with the development of our Alma Mater.” The Convention approved US$30,000 for two specific projects, namely: The Biomedical Technician Training Program and The Food Hub project. Portion of this money, he said, has already been remitted to a firm in Washington D.C., “to undertake the construction of an irrigation system on our farm using Solar Energy Technology. Additionally, work is progressing on support from the Prairie View A&M University in Houston, Texas and Hampton University in Virginia to provide scholarships for young graduates of BWI to study at those institutions to return home to strengthen the faculty in the vocational and technical departments.”