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Special Feature

“It is a mess: Our Education System”

School is one of the main agents of socialization in every society.  It plays an important role in shaping the future of a nation. Through the process of socialization, the dynamic of social forces often beyond our control guides our lives. The major elements of socialization – family, school, peer group, media, work and religion exert pressure on everyone in society.  So if our education system is a mess, I think it is fair to assume that the future of Liberia is in jeopardy or danger.

I will certainly agree with the President that our education system is a mess. But the difficulties with her argument is that it raises some interesting questions: Is it timely?   Why did she not realise this terrible social problem in her first term?  I am not sure, if I can provide valid reasons for these questions. Probably, Madam President would at the end of her term,  provide some good reasons…  But the fact is that her argument is valid.

Given the importance of the President’s argument, we must all be concerned and worried about this alarming and disturbing social problem. This is a national problem and requires collective effort because I want your children and my children to have access to quality education.

Clearly her argument seems to have the rational and logical strength  that makes it valid. But it  has  coincided with another ill and unproductive debate in our nation: Should Liberia be a secular state or not?  So I am still wondering if the agents of socialization are really helping  in shaping the future of our nation.  The fact is that,  the civil war did not only destroy the political and economic engine(s) of our nation-state  but also  weaken all agents of socialization.  This  brings us to another important element of socialization,” Religion”.  Religion is one most important institutions that helps human society embrace the value of peace and freedom. So is the debate of Christian state relevant?

The answer is “NO”.  Any debate that threatens peace, security and freedom is  counter-productive.  The President has made the point, ” we cannot compete with other nations in this 21st if our education system is in mess” .  Let’s put aside all ethnic and religious biases and carefully think about this.  Remember our neighbour and good friend, Ghana is building an IT city soon. And above all,  most of our children have never seen a computer yet.  This is really scary!

I was not too surprised to learn about this unproductive religious debate at all, because  intellectual  and well-educated Sociologists or Anthropologists in Liberia know that other agents of socialization need some attention, not only the education sector. Based on that,  I want to challenge our intellectuals and political leaders to identify other key elements of socialization that are in mess too.  The debate of secularism is not relevant in this 21st century, simply because Liberia is a secular state and will forever remain so. The Good news is that,  it is not going to distract our attention from one the most crucial and important debates of our time:  It is a mess: Our Education System.

Looking at the President’s point even more critically,  we can  assume that the Ministry of Education is a “Failed Ministry”. This means that the Ministry of Education cannot overhaul the system.  We need an independent, efficient and robust agency that will carry on active monitoring and evaluation of our school system.  Again, considering the magnitude of the problem, parents and guardians should  play an active role too. Let’s help our children develop strong work ethic by studying very hard and doing their assignments on time.

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Working together is amazing! So let’s help rebuild our messy education system.  We need to concentrate on how to overhaul the education system. Because education  plays an important role in shaping the future of a nation.

For me and my colleagues here in Vancouver, we have been engaged in this process over the last three years. Through our amazing and dynamic team work, we have shipped over 10,000 text books to Liberia. And you?

Musa V. Sheriff
Vancouver,  BC
email: haidaramv@yahoo.com

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