BWI Board Chair Tells 310 Mid-level Graduate Technicians
Jackson J. Paye, chairman of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) Board of Governors, has challenged 310 mid-level graduates of the institute to be innovative to create opportunities for their own employment.
“Hereafter, try something new by being innovative to create your own jobs; invent, using the skills acquired to win the market,” chairman Paye admonished the graduates, as he warned them of the difficult state of the present Liberian economy, where jobs are very scarce.
“By being creative and innovative,” he told the graduates, “you would prove yourself as worthy BWI graduates, creating employment for others instead of waiting for the government to employ all of you,” to which graduates were seen nodding in approval.
Mr. Paye, a BWI alumnus, is also Public Works Deputy Minister for Rural Development and Community Services.
Hundreds of parents, guardians and well-wishers thronged the BWI Auditorium in Kakata, Margibi County for the festive occasion marking the institute’s 66th graduation exercise. They included former Agriculture Minister Moses Zinnah, who was the commencement speaker, Youth and Sports Minister Saah N’tow and former principal Alexander Massey.
The students were pronounced graduates by the administration, headed by the institute’s principal and CEO, Harris Fomba Tarnue, following the completion of their respective courses in trades and academics over the years.
BWI currently runs the regular Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), including the National Diploma in Agriculture and the Accelerated Vocational Training Program.
These programs offer courses in post-secondary and three to four-year professional training in Agriculture, Architectural Drafting, Building Construction, Carpentry, Domestic Science, Electricity, Electronics, Machinery, Masonry and Plumbing.
Other courses the students completed are Accounting, Business Education and Secretarial Science.
Meanwhile, two young women topped the class. The valedictorian, Roseline D. Snoh (Agriculture), spoke on the topic, “Education is the light we need to transform Liberia.”
“It has been echoed from time immemorial that we as a country need to place emphasis on educating the nation’s population, but it seems that those clarion calls have yet to make the desired impact as experienced by the fact that we still lag behind after 170 years without improving the educational system to meet the country’s manpower needs,” Ms. Snoh declared.
“The light of education is not covering the land to expel the darkness and brighten Liberia to achieve its desire to build roads that will connect the 15 counties and their capitals; upgrade feeder roads to enhance agricultural production; provide quality education for the children, and create a vibrant middle class by placing emphasis on technical and vocational education.”
Valedictorian Snoh also called on the government to build and improve the country’s healthcare delivery system to respond robustly to any outbreak of communicable diseases, such as the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak, which claimed the life of her mother, and many others.
She called on the government and the Liberian people to build the energy sector to expand the country’s economy; strengthen integrity institutions through the provision of adequate resources; and above all, fight corruption with political might to give the country improved image within and to the outside world.
“We need a strong leadership that will have the courage to blend the western style of democracy with positive African style of leadership, to make the much needed light to shine by tackling and addressing the needy platforms to reform the country’s transformation agenda,” she suggested.
The guest speaker, Dr. Moses M. Zinnah, speaking on the theme, “Entrepreneurial Skills Development for Liberia’s Youth: A Compelling Factor for Sustainable Peace and Inclusive Economic Growth and Development,” said to sustain the gains and peace the country has achieved over the years, the government must pay special attention to the least common denominator, the entrepreneurial skills development of the youth.
“That is, we must provide our youth with the relevant technical and vocational skills required for them to become more useful citizens. This is one of the most important pre-conditions for sustainable peace and economic growth and development,” said the former Agriculture Minister, now Dean of the College of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Liberia.
The graduation ceremony was also graced by several other prominent personalities, including BWI Board of Governors chair emeritus, Kenneth Y. Best; Dr. Joseph Isaac, president of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU); and Margibi Representative Ben Fofana, all BWI alumni.