-Assistant Commerce Minister Tells BWI’s JHEOS Graduates
The Assistant Minister of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Morris K. Saryon, has urged young Liberians to focus more on the technical and vocational education, as the country needs more technicians in the industrial sector.
Minister Saryon spoke recently at a program marking the graduation and hand-over ceremony of the Japan Heavy Equipment Operator School (JHEOS) from the United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to the administration of the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata, Margibi County.
The Japan Heavy Equipment Operator School at the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) is a US$1.6m project with funding from the Japanese Government, in partnership with in collaboration with the Japanese heavy duty machinery manufacturer, KOMATSU.
The project began in 2016 and was implemented by UNIDO.
The aim of the training program was to promote youth empowerment by supporting Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) training programs in the country.
Minister Saryon, who served as the keynote speaker at the graduation and hand-over ceremony of the project, told the 224 students who graduated from different professional backgrounds that Liberia depended on them for progress in the development in the industrial sector.
He charged them to use their newly acquired skills in operating heavy duty equipment to enhance national development and earn a good income to help their families.
According to him, when Liberians are technically strong, the industrial sector will be strong. Therefore skills in TVET (Technical, Vocational Education and Training) are extremely important for the enhancement of the country’s industrial sector. The Commerce Ministry, the Assistant Minister said, remains committed to exert every effort to provide TVET training programs for young people throughout the country. This will enable the new government
“One of the mandates of the Commerce Ministry is to develop the industrial sector of the country. In this connection, he declared, the provision of skills training programs to the youth of Liberia is paramount to achieving the Pro-poor Agenda of our government.”
Education Minister Dao Ansu Sonii, said young people have a significant role to play in driving the development agenda of every nation; therefore they must rise and take control of every good opportunity that may come their way, adding that this can be done if young people are more innovative and focused in technical areas.
“We hope that the way we look at vocational programs today in Liberia will change as of now,” Minister Sonii said.
He stated that nowadays parents consider TVET programs as less than getting collage degree, something which he refutes, but said it is about time that Liberians change from old ways of thinking.
“In fact, the MOE has reviewed and revised the curriculum beginning September. Therefore students who are science intellects will exclusively be in science program,” he noted.
BWI Principal Harris F. Tarnue, lauded the Japanese Government and the Liberian government for their support to the Institute. BWI, being Liberia’s oldest and premier institute in TVET in the country, it is better situated and suited to mold the minds of young people to acquire marketable skills needed for today’s work place.
Mr. Tarnue said since the foundation of BWI 89 years ago, the institute has been in the vanguard for preparing youths and is still prepared to help achieve President George Weah’s set goals. “We Acknowledge that the skills required for industries in the 1920s are not the same today. Therefore BWI must evolve so as to remain relevant in playing a critical role of filling in the gap for well-trained middle level technicians in the country.
The Publisher of the Daily Observer, Dr. Kenneth Y. Best, described BWI as the home for Liberia’s technicians. For this reason, it is essential that young people take the fullest advantage of what BWI has to offer, in order to become role models and in order to nourish and propel Liberia’s economic, industrial and social progress.
Dr. Best told the audience that he had brought along with him to the program two of his classmates of the Class of 1959. He introduced them as Professor Eric Eastman, a mathematician, agricultural and mechanical engineer, who has taught at the University of Liberia’s College of Agriculture and Forestry ever since his graduation from there in 1964. He taught there for 53 unbroken years. The other classmate who accompanied Mr. Best was Sam Ricks, a hydrological engineer.
Dr. Best a BWI alumnus (’59), further said young people should always be curious to transform themselves and the country. “By doing this you will make a difference in society,” he noted.
Following months of training in various areas of studies, such as auto electro-hydraulic technicians, excavator operators, mechanics, including heavy duty equipment operators, among other technical disciplines at the Japan Heavy Equipment Operator School, about 224 students graduated.
Among the graduates, the Daily Observer spoke with a female graduate, D. Rhodell Kpadyu, “I see this school as another way of bringing transformation to our country in the near future.”
She said young people currently need technical training to empower themselves. Rhodell, who was also honored as one of the outstanding students, during program described the training as timely and has brought her to another level.
She expressed excitement and noted that it is important to invest in young Liberians with potential who will focus in the technical areas, because Liberia’s growth and development will be driven by qualified and technical professionals, which lies in the hands of the youths.
“I want to encourage my friends, most especially females, to join this program, that change Liberia’s industrial sector,” She added.