MoE makes clarity on exam fees

Liberia's Education Ministry has issued a clarify that there has been no change in who pays for the senior high exam. In a statement issued in Monrovia Tuesday, 28 November, The Ministry of Education says it has previously only subsidized the Liberia Junior High School Certificate Examination (LJHSCE) fees, and it continues to do so.

However, it says the cost of the Liberia Senior High School Certificate Examination (LSHSCE) had always been undertaken by families of students. "Now that the LSHSCE is being replaced by the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), which is a much more comprehensive exam carried out over five weeks rather than five days, families will continue to be responsible for the majority of the cost," the Ministry says.

The statement notes that the Ministry provides a 25% subsidy for the cost of the WASSCE, noting that students’ families are charged US$60 for the exam, with the government paying the remaining US$20.

The Ministry adds that while it would like to be in a position to waive all fees for senior high school students sitting the exam, its significant budget constraints mean that unfortunately it is not possible for it to do so at this time.

It says it welcomes any organization that wants to assist in relieving the burden of WASSCE fees from students’ families, telling the public that the correct process for doing so is to coordinate with the West African Examination Council (WAEC), which administers the exam.

To date, the Ministry says it is not aware of an agreement between any entity and the WAEC to do so. The Liberia Senior High School Certificate Examination (LSHSCE) was introduced in 1988 as a means of preparing Liberia to join the other four West African Examinations Council (WAEC) countries in 1996 to administer a common examination, the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Unfortunately, Liberia could not participate in WASSCE in 1996 due to the civil war. The West African Examinations Council, the regional governing body for the test, allowed each country to commence the examination when ready. In 2013, Liberia joined the other four countries in the region taking WASSCE, but requested that the exam be conducted on a pilot basis for three years since most schools lacked laboratory facilities.

The 2017 exam was the last pilot conducted, after which the LSHSCE was phased out. Liberian students will start taking the WASSCE in April 2018 and the test will last for five weeks. As of 2018, WASSCE will be the only external examination that will determine senior high students’ graduation or admission to universities. In a few weeks, universities in Liberia, the Commission on Higher Education, the Ministry of Education, and WAEC Liberia will have series of meetings to determine benchmarks for admission to the universities.

Education Ministry says more information on the WASSCE test, including the syllabus, can be found on WAEC Liberia’s website: http://www.liberiawaec.org.---Press release

UL breaks grounds for new medical school

Ahead of its upcoming 98th graduation and convocation exercises, the Visitor to the University of Liberia (UL) President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf breaks grounds here for the construction of a 96-bedroom dormitory facility for the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine on the Fendall Campus of the UL. Speaking on Monday, 27 November at the ceremony, President Sirleaf reiterates her government’s commitment to creating an educated Liberian population.

She emphasizes that due to the importance government attaches to quality education, it directed its Chinese grant to the construction of the UL’s Fendall Campus in 2006.

Giving an over view of the project, Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn, recounts numerous efforts by the Liberian government to secure funding for the new home of the Medical School.

She says the initiative is aimed at improving the living and learning conditions of Medical students at the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine. The Health Minister discloses that government has established a partnership with the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to improve pre-clinical sciences and faculty in-learning platform to connect the medical school’s students with the world.

Dr. Dahn explains in the face of limited space and poor condition of the existing Medical School, the government was able to secure thru the World Bank, a US$2.3M grant to construct the facility.

Also speaking at the program, the President of the University of Liberia Dr. Ophelia I. Weeks, expresses happiness for the construction of the dormitories.
She looks forward that a health science college would be built on the Fendell Campus of the university in the nearest future.

Dr. Weeks lauds the government for helping the university to get its Fendell land, and reveals plans to build a university city, which according to her, will provide jobs for citizens in Fendell and surrounding areas.

World Bank Country Manager, Madam Larisa Leshchenko, explains that the project will cover construction of two new 48-bed dormitories and two classrooms aimed at strengthening learning environment of the Medical school.In a related development, the University of Liberia Tuesday, November 28, 2017 inducted 63 new scholars for academic excellence.

Speaking during the occasion, Dr. Weeks encourages the young scholars to always plan and remain disciplined if they are to maintain academic excellence.
“Planning and discipline will help you follow schedules and deadlines for registration. If you know that you want to be in school next semester, you have to plan ahead”, she urges.

She also admonishes other students of the University to cut down some of their activities to plan properly by saving money, noting that this will get them ready for the following semester. The honors program was the first under the regime of Dr. Weeks. The Dean of Liberia College, Mr. Sekou Konneh, urges students to put God first in all that they do.

He calls on the students to take risk and positive adventures in their journey to life. “You must have dreams with goals and apply discipline. You must be consistent. Study with plans, organize your time and yourselves, because planning is critical in anyone’s life,” he asserts.

The Liberal Arts Dean encourages the students to make use of every opportunity that comes their way. Meanwhile, the 98th commencement convocation of the UL began yesterday, November 30, 2017 at the Fendall Campus with an art and craft exhibition that runs up to December 15, 2017.


NIR begins Identification card registration

The National Identification Registry of Liberia kicks off Identification card registration for residents and citizens of Liberia. Executive Director J. Tiah Nagbe recalls that on October 30, 2017, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf launched the first Biometry National Identification System in the country.

Speaking at the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing on Thursday, 30 November he says the National Identification cards have two components: the data base that covers all citizens and residents and the identification instruments that are being issues.

Mr. Nagbe explains that three key instruments are being issued to the public, namely; Citizen’s National Identification Card, Resident’s National Identification Card, and the ECOWAs Standard Citizens Identification Card, which will be designed and implemented in a way that in the future, it would be used as travel document throughout the region to make traveling convenient for citizens.

He adds that the data base will provide information that will be used to help deliver services in both private and public sectors better to enhance development planning and implementation.

The NIR boss announces that registration has started at the national headquarters in Congo Town with efforts underway to open sub-centers around the country.
He says a total of 11 centers are expected to be opened across Liberia besides mobile teams that will in communities to conduct enrollment, stressing that registration for those cards is not by choice, but a duty.

“The Act that established the National Registry of 2011, states that every citizen of Liberia shall be required to enroll in the National Biometry System where the identity will be recorded and confirmed by the Government of Liberia as citizens”, Nagbe further emphasizes.

According to him, national ID number and card will be linked to many services in Liberia, such as banking business, registration of Sim cards, payment of taxes, and application for Liberian Passports, among others.

By Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

China pledges more support to LNP

The Government of China through its Ministry of Public Security has pledged to continue assisting the Liberia National Police (LNP) to provide professional police service to the people of Liberia, and wants the police continue to protect Chinese investment and citizens in Liberia.

Making the commitment at the Headquarters of the Liberia National Police on Thursday, 30 November, China’s Deputy Inspector General for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Public security, LI LI informed LNP Inspector General Col. Gregory Coleman that her government will continue to assist with the training of the LNP Form Police Unit, and promised international training opportunities for officers of the LNP to China.

Madam LI LI says following the departure of the Chinese Form Police Unit (FPU) from the United Nations Mission in Liberia early next year, the Ministry of Public Security will send a special team of trainers to Liberia to continue with the training of the Liberian Form Police Unit.

She expresses delight over the level of cooperation between the Liberia National Police and the Chinese FPU, indicating that the Ministry of Public Security will remain engaged in building the capacity of the Liberian National Police.

Recently, the Government of China through its Ministry of Public Security donated several items to the LNP to include uniforms for Liberia's Form Police Unit, three vehicles, and several motorbikes, among others.

In response, Liberia's Inspector General of Police Col. Gregory Coleman expresses gratitude to the government and people of China for the level of contributions they continue to make to the Liberia National Police, describing the Chinese as a reliable partner.

IGP Coleman assures the delegation of full protection for all foreign national to include all Chinese residing in Liberia in line with the laws of Liberia, which call for equal protection.

He lauds the Chinese Ministry of Public Security for identifying with the police by helping in the capacity building drive being carried out by the government of Liberia.--Press release

Indian doctor promises best services

The Founder and Chair of the LV Prasad Eye Institute in India Dr. Gulipalli N. Rao says his institution will bring the best of its services to Liberia.Speaking at a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia when he was being honored by President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf recently, Dr. Rao said two years from now, Liberians will not go to foreign countries for treatment.

He says other countries will rather come to Liberia for eye treatment, adding that the objective of his initiative is to ensure that no Liberian goes needlessly blind or visually impaired.

The Indian doctor adds that six thousand Liberians across the country have benefitted from his eye clinic at the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital. The eye specialist discloses that his medical team will visit the country every month, adding that beginning July next year, they will introduce a program called twenty thousand by 2020. He says physicians and nurses from Liberia will be traveling to India to attend the LV Prasad Eye Institute for learning and his organization will soon be opening regional health centers in every part of Liberia.

For her part, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf paid tribute to Dr. Rao for his tremendous contributions to eye care services in Liberia and also conferred one of Liberia's highest honors on him with the grade of Grand Commander.

President Sirleaf recalls that Dr. Rao has served in several eye organizations of the world and his eye services have been directed to the poor and less privileged, including Liberians. Receiving the honor, Dr. Rao thanked President Sirleaf for the recognition and pledged his organization’s unflinching support to eye care services in Liberia.

Dr. Rao, a Medical Doctor and an Ophthalmologist born in India, was admitted into the Order of Grand Commander by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her capacity as the Grand Master of Distinctions in Liberia.

For his part, Mr. Sam Balasundaram, Liberia Eye Center Manager says it is necessary for Liberians to test their eyes frequently, noting that LV Prasad Eye Institute is charitable and most of the treatment at the eye clinic is relatively free.

He says the clinic uses the officials and well-meaning Liberians to pay for their own eye care which in turn the centre can use to accommodate the poor and needy people at no cost to them.
Also speaking, Dr. Edward Gizzie says LV Prasad Eye Institute's interest is to operate in every part of Liberia. Dr. Gizzie urges every Liberian to visit the eye clinic at the J. F. K Memorial Hospital for their comprehensive eye examination.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Liberian students to benefit media training

Liberian Students Media Association (LSMA), has officially launched a media training for students here to enhance their desire of becoming journalists after high school.

The program which was launched on Thursday, 30 November at the Association's office at St. Margaret School System in the NTA Community along the Somalia Drive, brought together students from different high schools within Montserrado.

The President of the Association Mr. Benedict Kpehe says the aim of the program is to bring out the students' talents, adding that there are students who have the desire of becoming media practitioners but have no means of making their dreams a reality.

Mr. Kpehe says the program is also intended to help would - be high school journalists to be focused on what they want to be after high school. He says the program will focus on developing the career of students in junior and senior high schools, preparing them for the field of journalism.

Mr. Kpehe who also is a journalist, boasts of having professional journalists in handling the academic aspect of the program. He notes that the training is expected to run three months per cycle, after which another cycle will be opened.

The training will include giving students the opportunity to go on field trips to various partner radio stations and Newspaper outlets to see how the media works.

He promises that after their completion of high school, they will now be ready to advance themselves in the profession by going to obtain a degree in Mass Communication. According to him, the Association is currently targeting Montserrado County, but will later spread throughout the Country.

He calls on school administrations to see it as an opportunity for their students to learn journalism before getting out of high school. He also encourages parents to make use of this opportunity to send their children for the training. The training is expected to begin by December this year.

By Samuel P. Kamara--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Liberian wins ICRC’s highest award

A former staff of the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRC) Roselyn N. Ballah is winner of the highest award of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Florence Nightingale Medal Award.

The ICRC bi-annually designates certain number of nurses to receive the Florence Nightingale Medal with nominations received from various National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world and selection is done in Geneva, Switzerland based on merit.

Presenting the award Thursday, 30 November to Mrs. Ballah, the President of the LNRCS, Jerome N. J Clarke, Jr. calls on other Liberians to emulate her exemplary service to humanity as an inspiration.

He recalls that the recipient played a successful role during the Ebola virus outbreak, which to the Red Cross to have nominated her for the prestigious award, for which they are grateful to the ICRC for confirming their decision and selecting her for the highest award.

Mr. Clark continues that 39 outstanding nurses from 22 countries, including Liberia have received this award, which recognizes exceptional courage and devotion to victims of armed conflict or natural disaster.

The LNRCS former staff is awarded the prestigious medal for 2017 for her outstanding dedication to duty during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia between 2014 and 2015. She headed the safe and dignified burial team, ensuring that all Ebola bodies were collected from streets and communities within Monrovia and its environs and properly buried.

Also making remarks, the Head of Mission for the ICRC in Monrovia, Bernard Metraux lauds Mrs. Ballah for her exceptional commitment during the outbreak, adding that the whole world was panicking, fearing a possible spread of the disease, she dedicated herself fully to a war against one of the most, if not the most daring attack the world was confronted with.

He explains that Florence Nightingale, in whose memory the award is named, was a nurse operating with the British Army in the battlefield during the Crimea War 165 years ago before the birth of the Red Cross, and she dedicated herself exemplarily to the wounded of this bloody war.

In response, Mrs. Roselyn N. Ballah expresses gratitude to both the ICRC and the LNRCS for the recognition, which she notes, is not only for her, but the team she led.

She narrates that during the Ebola outbreak, their lives were on the line, and people chased them out from various communities, but she was never deterred.
More 4,000 Liberians, including women and children lost their lives to the disease that also made several hundred kids orphans.

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne

Ellen deserves best honor

Deputy Information Minister for Technical Services, Rixck Barsi-Giah argues that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf deserves the best honor in Liberia as a sitting President. He says the President’s track record and stewardship over the years is something that earn her the best honor.

Giving vote of thanks at the regular press briefing Thursday, 30 November in the Charles Gbenyon Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill, the Deputy Minister notes that with barely a month to step down from office and with many projects being dedicated, including establishment of new agencies of government, these are remarkable achievements that require honor.

“I think the President deserves the best honor for providing this exercise at this crucial juncture where this administration is left with only a month to go, because it’s thru her stewardship that today Liberians are benefiting from these numerous projects that are being dedicated across this country”, Minister Barsi-Giah explains.

Commenting on the new national Identification cards being issued by the National Identification Registry, he says the card will not be referred to like the previous one in 1984, but this new one under the stewardship and supervision of President Sirleaf, which is biometric, will be the first time in the history of Liberia that citizens will use for traveling outside the country.

“I also want to express gratitude to the citizens on behalf of the government for their collaboration to enroll at the NIR.” He explains that the amount placed on the card by the NIR which is US$ 5 is not any fee that should stop people from enrolling to have their biometric Identification card.

Minister Barsi-Giah says the idea of government introducing this exercise is to make citizens accessible throughout the various borders as they travel from Liberia to other African countries, saying, “This identification card will easily help citizens to identify themselves from other foreigners.”

“This process is a global practice that citizens of a particular country must show document that they properly belong to that country, and the best way to do that is by simply showing the identification card”.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Gov’t confirms expulsion of diplomats

The Liberian Government on Tuesday confirmed the expulsion of two of its diplomats from the United Kingdom, following reports that her Majesty’s Government declared them persona non-grata.

The two Foreign Service officials who have been expelled from the United Kingdom are Mr. Jay Napoleon Toquie II and Mr. Chester Dweh Barh, Sr. Though details of their crimes have not been made known, the Foreign Ministry here say the Liberian Government has taken notes of the decision of Her Majesty’s Government and arrangements are being made for the departure of the two officials and their families.

The ministry indicated in its statement that though the British Government has not cited reasons for their decision, it is not obliged to provide an explanation, according to Article 9 (1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961.

The Liberian Government said it would ensure that the two diplomats and their families are repatriated before the British Government deadline which ends on January 8, 2018.

S/Court hears LP’s appeal Friday

Image result for supreme court liberia

Liberia's Supreme Court is due to hear a bill of exception filed before it by opposition Liberty Party (LP) this Friday at 10am, in challenge to rulings made by the Board of Commissioners at the National Elections Commission (NEC) denying LP and ruling Unity Party (UP's) quest to conduct a rerun of the 10 October presidential and representatives' elections due to alleged fraud and irregularities.

The LP came third in the first round of the polls and is not designated for a runoff, but the UP which came second in the pools and designated alongside opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to contest the runoff is backing the fraud case raised by the LP.

The runoff was due to be held on 7 November before a Supreme Court order halted the process in order to allow the NEC conduct investigation into claims made by the parties, alleging fraud and irregularities in the elections.

The NEC's Hearing Officer and the Board of Commissioners refused LP and UP's request, thus prompting the bill of exception before the Supreme Court. In the bill of exception, the LP tells the Supreme Court that the Board of Commissioners at the NEC committed reversible error when it denied a motion requesting NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoyah's recusal due to his public utterances that allegedly prejudged the evidence and issues of the case.

The appealing party is complaining that the NEC's Board committed a reversible error when it held that correction was made and only 110 votes were processed as cast for the CDC ticket following allegation that the CDC ticket was given 1109 votes at the Topaipolu Public School polling place in District #6 polling place #1 in Bong County in excess of the required registered voters.

The LP insists that the NEC's Board committed reversible error when it failed to take into consideration witness Lima Lighe's testimony over the incompetence of the polling staff on election day, the absence of queue controllers to direct voters to their right voting lines and the process of adding individuals' names to the Final Registration Roll (FRR), though no such provision was contained in the 2017 regulations.

The LP asks the Supreme Court to review the NEC's ruling, having claimed that the 10 October elections did not pass the minimum standard required for free, fair and transparent elections. 

By Winston W. Parley

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