Editorial: We differ with VP Taylor on this one
Editorial: Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor is suggesting operation of traditional schools across the country to teach traditional values in the wake of suspension of the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) for three years in Liberia.
Customarily, FGM or cutting of the clitoris of girls and women are carried out in the bush school for females, known here as Sande, while its counterpart, Poro, is meat for boys.
But the brutal practice in the Sande is often characterized by excessive bleeding that causes the death of many girls some as young as three and leaves others with lifetime health complications, including less excitement for sex.
Operators of these institutions influence parents to take their children out of academic schools to enroll them in the bush school to go thru these rituals. Besides cutting, other lessons taught range from farming, home-care, rearing children and service to husband, for females, and brushing, hunting and family protection for boys, respectively.
The Government of Liberia, working with partners recently suspended the practice of FGM for three years in the country.
But Vice President Tylor is suggesting that traditional values should continuously be taught despite the suspension of FGM, which is an integral part of the Sende education.
The truth of the matter is, there is a thin line here because the Sende education is never complete without girls going thru FGM that prepares them for marriage upon graduation.
Mrs. Taylor acknowledges that FGM plays a major part in traditional practices in Liberia, so it has created a different kind of focus on the way Liberians see their traditions, adding “Because of FGM being a part of our tradition my mother didn’t go to the Sande and she didn’t send me either and I am surely not going to send my children.”
It is from these concerns raised by the Vice President about the practice that we draw our apprehension about her proposal for a separate traditional school that would exclusively teach values outside of FGM that has been a customary practice for centuries, not only in Liberia but in most part of Africa with dangerous and life-threatening consequences.
We don’t need an extra school to teach helpful cultural values to our children, as VP Taylor wants us to believe. Instead, cultural values should be integrated into our social studies curriculum for schools. It is already being taught as an integrated course at the University of Liberia dubbed as Social Science under a four-discipline course that covers, Government, History, Economics and Cultural values. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/vp-taylor-excepts-to-fgm-suspension/