The standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander Cummings, says with the daunting challenges posed by globalization, increased importance of technical knowledge are impetus of economic development that pressurize the country for more sophisticated skills as a result of emerging markets.
He said such realities have also placed extraordinary pressure on nations like Liberia to modernize and strengthen their education delivery and administration and lamented on the condition of Liberia’s educational system, describing it as “a system in crisis.”
Mr. Cummings spoke on the theme, “Liberia’s Messy Education System: How Can We Fix It?” at the General Assembly of the Union of the Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), in Buffalo, New York.
He said, “Liberia is faced with the demands of delivering quality vocational training that is tied to the labor markets alongside critical resource shortages, financial constraints and inadequate infrastructure.”
He catalogued the decline of Liberia’s educational system and challenges, which were exacerbated by the civil crisis and suggested creativity in tackling the country’s educational system.
Mr. Cummings recommended the construction of simple structures from local materials through a national school building competition, investment in teacher training and staffing, and competitive student and teacher testing, suggesting the introduction of technology and the provision of attractive compensation packages for teachers.
He told the gathering that the Liberian populace that is educationally deficient as a result of the civil-war would need massive remedial program to help improve basic reading, writing and arithmetic as well as providing technical and livelihood skills through vocational schools.
Cummings said a well-conceived literacy program that is targeted at this group would pay dividends, also proposing a University of Liberia System with campuses established across Liberia, and with each specializing in different disciplines.
He pointed out that while it is the function of the Liberian government to provide equal access to quality education, Liberians can contribute to repairing the educational system.
“One thing we can readily do is to support and elect leaders who value education and can thus champion the kinds of policies that would lift our schools,” he said.