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Can The ‘Saviour’ Save?

Liberia’s Education System and its Pathway to  Redemption

About a week ago, I arrived at work and made a routine stop at my boss’ office situated in the right wing of a building overlooking Tubman Boulevard. Upon entering, I was greeted by Fatou M. Coleman’s hefty but revealing book entitled ‘Catalogue Of Graduates From the University of Liberia’. It is an accurate register of graduates dating as far back as 1866, when a single graduate walked out, and up to 2009, when about One Thousand Five Hundred students made up the class. Flipping through its pages, I became awestruck by the people of great renown who were listed. But even more notable were the many foreign students who graduated between ‘62 and ‘89. A total of Four Hundred and Nineteen foreign students graduated during the period. They came from 27 countries including: China, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and the United States of America. Wow! Really! Does this reflect the fact that our system soared in prominence within the sub-region and beyond with regards to education? Was our education system so vibrant that it attracted foreign students and teachers alike? Does this situation hold true today? Read More …

Why I Oppose the Proposed Private Public Partnership in Education in Liberia

By. Anderson Miamen as culled from Facebook post.

 

As correctly said, which I totally agree with, garbage in, garbage out. Inputs determine Outputs. And to whom much is given, much is expected!

 

Among other things, you cannot grossly underfund public education; renege on your responsibility by leaving the system unmonitored; refuse to decentralize decision making as required under relevant laws and policies governing the sector and expect public schools to perform as desired. You are dead wrong if you ever insinuated that the current public school system is "rotten beyond repair and not sustainable." Yes, I said it!!!!

 

Students in Sotiamon, Child Development Academy, Levi C. Williams, Spiritan and other better-performing schools are being taught by Liberians. Besides, these schools are being managed largely by Liberians. How come they are performing, but many of our public schools are doing the exact opposite? Why is government even paying more for teachers in the public schools, but are under-performing compared to many of their counterparts in private schools? The fact is, you cannot underfund and pay lip-service to public education and think that Private Public Partnership is the only solution the problems in Education. No, I vehemently disagree with such insinuation. Read More …

Declare Your Assets or Leave Public Service

After stalling for over 2 years, exacerbated by failure on the part of the National legislature to pass the Code of Conduct for Public Officials that includes declaration of assets, the President endorsed a bold initiative by the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission (LACC) that all public officials declare and publish their assets. Subsequently, the President mandated all officials in the Executive to declare and publish their assets by September 30th. The President’s position was accentuated at several press briefings and interviews where she abundantly assured the public of her renewed commitment to combating corruption in the country.

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Corruption will always be with us – but?


Corruption will always be with us. This is a straightforward perspective and not based on a pessimistic inkling but a reality that we all have to endure. We all have the inclination to wake up or go to sleep with thoughts that border on societal progress or devilish promptings that influence our communities. We may aspire to live in a world free of corruption where there is unhindered enjoyment of the niceties of life, but will this ever happen with the uncertain socio-economic and political future that citizens in countries like Liberia face. Humans have the proclivity to carry on acts that are self-promoting, and corruption is one of those acts that are self-promoting over the collective interest. Individuals enrich themselves at the expense of entire communities left to linger in abject poverty – lack of adequate healthcare, education and infrastructure.

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Open Government and Its relevance for Liberia

In July 2011, I joined representatives of several governments and civil society organizations in Washington DC to inaugurate the Open Government Partnership (OGP).  Governments invited represented those that had made some efforts to inform their citizens about public transactions (revenue and expenditure operations) and fight corruption.  From Africa, officials and leading civil society organizations from Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa and Liberia were invited.  I was elated that Liberia was invited – not just as a spectator, but also to share experiences on work undertaken to improve citizens’ participation and access to information.    I was placed on a panel moderated by the renowned governance expert Daniel Kaufman to share Liberia’s civil society experience and participation in charting the path of openness in Liberia.  Deputy Minister of Finance for Revenue, Elfreda Tamba sat on another panel to share efforts to foil revenue leakages and increase revenue for Liberia.

 

Why was Liberia chosen to participate in that meeting? For obvious reasons, that was a question that prodded my head as I traversed the list of assembled participants.  Our public sector is corrupt and there is little will to implement laws.  Despite support to build capacity and resuscitate the economy, the economy is gradually being hijacked by special interest allowing public officials and their collaborators wealth, while poverty reduction remains in doubt.

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