The cover photo of this story resembles an actual ECOWAS heads of state summit, but it is rather that of an impressive mock summit devoted to harmonizing the sub-region’s education curriculum.
They are students from the tender age 6 to their early teens from the Christiana Bedell Preparatory School in the Monrovia’s suburb of New Georgia, who called for “one education policy” for West Africa over the weekend.Their composure was exceptional, their articulation superb and they demonstrated high IQ.
The students, who represented heads of state and government from all 15 West African countries, called for both English and French to be made mandatory subjects from the primary level in all schools across the sub-region.
“Education moves the world and brings sanity to the people,” delegates at the mock ECOWAS conference stressed. One after another and like it was a real ECOWAS summit, the school kids acting as heads of state and government, mounted the podium to address the meeting flanked by their interpreters. They were very articulate in their deliveries in both French and English to the amazement of the hundreds at the beautifully choreographed ceremony early Sunday evening.
An official at the Ivorian Embassy near Monrovia, who attended the program, said he was impressed by the performance of the very young students, rating it as very high.
The attire of many of the summit’s delegates depicted the national dress of the sub-regional countries they were representing.The mock ECOWAS summit hosted by Liberia formally wopened by a 9th grade student who played the role of President George Manneh Weah ably assisted by another playing the role of Education Minister Prof. D. Ansu Sonii.
Liberia’s delegation pointed out that in the past “the Liberian Education system was not perfect but it was strong,” noting that students from around Africa had years ago sought education at Liberian secondary schools and universities.
Building a sound education system can both develop West Africa and protect our sovereignty, the school kids said at their mock ECOWAS summit, quoting the late Pan Africanist Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who stressed the need for unity.
Besides calling for a unified curriculum for all 15 West African countries, the mock ECOWAS summit held by Liberian pupils called for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) certificates to be given in two categories: Liberal Arts and the Sciences.
The mock ECOWAS summit was part of activities to mark the 27th anniversary of the Christiana Bedell Preparatory school near the New Georgia Estate, which was founded by a veteran educator Mrs. Comfort Bedell Marshall-Dahn.
Filled with excitement over the brilliant performance of her students, Mrs. Marshall-Dahn said, “you’ve seen it for yourselves…loud and clear” as she expressed thanks to those who attended the occasion.
The up side of “messy” education system
It is so often said that the Liberian education system is “messy”. But judging by the brilliant performance of these New Georgia school kids, it is not all gloom and doom.
This educational system does has its weaknesses, but it is far from being irreparable. Even amidst the weaknesses, there is strength in the rich talents and IQ of the pupils that must be tapped. And the skills and passion of Liberian teachers must be rewarded by giving them attractive pay and conditions of service.
-Pupils call for one curriculum in West Africa
By Frank Sainworla, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org