The West Africa Representative of Accountability Lab, Lawrence W. Yealue, has called on Liberians to develop strong minds, emphasizing that strong minds build a nation.
Accountability Lab is a nonprofit organization that scouts for young people with talents in music, journalism and drama. It seeks donor support for the empowerment of these young people to succeed in their career ventures.
In his address at the 3rd graduation ceremony of the Shah Tah Ahmadiyya High School in Tweh Farm, outside Monrovia, Yealue said Liberia’s problems should neither be blamed on previous generations nor on the country’s 14-year civil crisis.
“Blaming the founding fathers of this nation and the regimes that subsequently followed for its underdevelopment is a complete disservice to us today. If we all agree that they have underperformed, then we need to prove the worth of our existence by doing the right things no matter who or what stands against us for the right we pursue,” Mr. Yealue emphasized.
He said all Liberians need are strong minds to reject corruption; no matter who is involved, even if it is the President.
Yealue said Liberia’s history is replete with wars of many kinds including the battles between the pioneers and the indigenous in the 1820s.
“Liberia is not the only country that has fought wars. Almost every nation in the world has fought some sort of war, and it probably was for independence or something else,” Yealue reminded the 48 graduates.
“A statement by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf describing the country’s education system as a mess should not be a defeat, but a challenge and a wake-up call to gain excellence through positive competitions.”
Yealue expressed dissatisfaction in what he described as “ruined rural teacher training institutes” (RTTIs).
According to him, the RTTIs that are supposed to produce quality teachers for quality service are no longer up to standard due to lack of motivation through salary increment and employment for trainers and trainees.
“Parents should not think that paying fees is their only responsibility in educating their children, because they too need to attend PTA meetings and follow the day to day activities of their children, regardless of what may be their ages,” Yealue cautioned.
The valedictorian of the class, Alieu Kamara, said young people have a very critical role to play in helping their country to succeed in the midst of challenging crises, especially with corruption being the order of the day.
Kamara emphasized that after the adolescent period a young person has the capacity to think critically and can decide to be good or bad.
“Our friends who get addicted to drugs, those who forsake learning and seek things that often leave them with only regrets should stop blaming other people for their conditions,” Alieu said.
The head of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Liberia, Maulvi Nasir Ahmad Kahlon, explained among other things that the Ahmadiyya family is in Liberia to help rebuild the country’s broken education system.
He said the Ahmadiyya family believes that education is a compulsory need for the development of any nation, noting that “this is why we decided to leave our respective countries in Asia such as Pakistan and come to Liberia to form part of the system to develop the country’s education program.”