(L-R) A cross-section of graduates and John B.S. Davies III.
The University of Liberia continues its college based graduation exercise as part of its 96th convocation for the 2014/15 academic year with the College of Business and Public Administration graduating over 1000 students.
At least of this number, 453 received degrees in Accounting, 358 in Management, 172 in Economics and 171 in Public Administration. Addressing the graduates, Liberia’s Bank for Development and Investment or LBDI President John B.S. Davies III, urged the new graduates to reclaim the economy by creating opportunities for themselves through entrepreneurship rather than simply relying on jobs, which he said are now in limited supply in the private sector.
“Today we witness a different dynamic in time. Supply of men and women on the job market seems to quadruple the demand quite strangely,” said Mr. Davies when he delivered the commencement address at the college’s graduation.
Speaking on the theme: “Relevance of business education in the roll out of our post war reconstruction program as encapsulated in the agenda for transformation,” the LBDI President said less than 10% of business graduates were business owners and self-employed with the capability of employing others.
“This situation has to change, if many more youth must be encouraged to embrace education as the path to what is in the words of the late professor Joe Weatu Elliot, former chairman of the Management Department, who said ‘critical thinking and analytical reasoning are the necessary ingredients for emancipation from mental slavery and intellectual decadence,”’ Mr. Davies said.
He said further that the college was founded to provide the necessary training that would be required to build the country’s succeeding generations of business leaders and entrepreneurs, to provide the springboard from which the Liberian economy will be well within the control of its nationals and to serve as a catalytic role in the tedious task of wealth creation and labor employment for the capable young people of our nation who have shown to deserve a chance.
Reflecting on his time at the university dating back seventeen years ago, when he and more than 400 others graduated from the college, Davies said it was not lost on them that the University was perceived as the institution with the three Ds—difficult to enter, difficult to pass through and difficult to exit successfully.
“The attrition rate was more than 50% but in fairness to our days the assimilation rate in the job market was also higher than 50%,” he recollected. “The University was seen as that great beacon of hope. The hope that being a truck loader in the Free Port of Monrovia, or a gasoline seller by jars along the streets of metropolitan city of Monrovia, or even a peanuts or cookies seller as some of us in college managed to do as a means of getting by were only temporary chores intended to keep you out of financial troubles while keeping your prime focus on your school work.”
He said those were the days when your ability to land the dream job of your expectations lay in your hands, adding, “The incentive to be better at every opportunity was far too appealing to spend time in needless idleness and indolence.”
In closing, Mr. Davies proffered two recommendations, saying, “It is about time that we review our programs and products from the job market demands perspective rather than the academician perspective; we must find resources to strengthen the business intelligence and research arm of the College of Business.”