Former deputy foreign minister B. Elias Shoniyin has challenged educational institutions across Liberia to be intentional and conscious of their role in shaping the future direction of the country. He said institutions should be progressive in responding to the needs of society, by building a positive mindset that promotes hard work, honesty, and objectivity.
Serving as commencement speaker at the Fourth Graduation Convocation of Starz University in Monrovia via zoom, Mr. Shoniyin stressed that beyond the traditional curriculum, high schools and universities here should be required to include civic responsibility, integrity and entrepreneurship courses in their curricula.
“Lecturers should not be only hired on the basis of academic qualification, but also for their ability to inspire their students to adopt positive attitudes and bring to innovation to the classroom. Lecturers should equip their students with the ability to find real life solutions and build self confidence in such a way that promotes big dreams and energizes them to boldly and fearlessly confront the future’, he emphasized.
He said if Liberian universities failed to adopt new approaches to educating the youth, they will produce graduates who tolerate mediocrity and conditions that weight heavily on society, because those graduates would not become problem solvers.
He reminded members of the Graduating Class of 2020 (151 candiates) that when they embarked on their academic journey few years ago, many of them were grappling with the fact that they were not sure of what to expect, and when the study period was going to come to an end. “But here we all are today, gathered in honor of your work, your tenacity, and your outstanding dedication and courage.”
Shoniyin: Today, you face that same mixed feeling as when you first started this journey. The mixed emotion of excitement and fear that comes when we turn off one road in their life and onto another. The only difference this time is that for some of you, this is the end of your official academic journey, while for others, the journey goes on to another level. Today marks a turning point for many of you, not because degrees are being conferred on you, but that you are headed out there into the real world.”
However, he cautioned that the graduates were leaving the walls of Starz University, which specializes in Information Technology (IT) and other disciplines, at a difficult and rapidly changing time, when the country is grappling with various challenges, including the global pandemic.
The fourth convocation coincided with the tenth anniversary of the University, and Mr. Shoniyin congratulated Mr. LatimDethong, whose vision and dedication propelled the evolution of Starz University over the last decade, saying, “Latim has inspired all of us by dedicating his life’s work to promote quality education in Liberia, through Starz University, to empower generation of today and those after us. We thank you Latim; for you have made us all proud.”