New Principal Takes over at BWI

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The newly appointed principal of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Margibi County, was yesterday inducted into office by Education Minister George K. Werner amidst cheers from students, faculty and well-wishers, including members of the BWI Alumni Association (BWIAA).

In his charge to Principal Harris Fomba Tarnue, Minister Werner said under his administration, BWI should lead the way in technological innovation.

Quoting a World Bank report, Minister Werner said a third of young people in Liberia are not in education, employment or training; and so, the system has failed them to the extent that they are left out without the skills to gain a job and contribute fully to the country’s development.

Minister Werner therefore challenged Mr. Tarnue to institute a stringent technical vocation education and training (TVET) service to support the large population of older youths, who he said missed out on school largely due to the 14-year civil crisis.

“We need to train the next generation workforce to meet the needs of the economy. We cannot do so without knowing economic trends and how BWI fits into these economic trends,” Werner said.

He then called on Tarnue’s administration to not only train students but also build the capacity of the Liberian workforce to meet the demands of the labor market.

In his acceptance statement, Mr. Tarnue said although he came to the position through a merit based selection ably coordinated by the Civil Service Agency (CSA), he also came to join the staff to sustain BWI to attain its greatness, among other things, starting with TVET.

He pledged to lead the institute as a team player, and not as a brain-trust principal who would say, “I know it all.”

Meanwhile, former Principal, Alexander Melvin Massey, turned over the mantle of leadership to his successor through a note read on his behalf by the vice principal for administration, Abraham Wowah, where he called on the faculty to cooperate with Mr. Tarnue to achieve his vision while also challenging him to work for the good of the Institute.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf recently appointed Mr. Tarnue as principal of BWI replacing the two-year interim leadership of Alexander Melvin Massey. The appointment of Mr. Tarnue is in consonance with Article 4–H of the Charter creating the BWI, which gives the President of Liberia, who is also the Chair/Ex-officio of the institute’s Board of Governors, the authority to nominate a principal to the Board of Governors, after which the Board shall revert to the President for a formal appointment once the Board has acted upon the nomination.

On December 2, 2015 the BWI Board Governors accepted President Sirleaf’s nomination of Mr. Tarnue as Principal of BWI.

Mr. Tarnue’s appointment came as a result of a CSA-coordinated competitive vetting process mandated by President Sirleaf to choose the most qualified candidate from among several examined applicants to serve as BWI Principal.

For his part, the Chairman of the BWI Board of Governors, Daily Observer publisher Kenneth Y. Best, pleaded with the government to make good her earlier promise to the institute “so that BWI becomes the center of excellence.”

Mr. Best then called for support for the new administration that it may achieve its objectives.

Yesterday’s induction ceremony was attended by high profile individuals, including members of Margibi and Gbarpolu County Legislative Caucuses, the president and members of BWIAA, the members of the Board of Governors, Superintendent of Margibi County, John Z. Buway, and a cross-section of well-wishers.

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