Liberia’s President – elect George Manneh Weah has vowed to take giant steps toward the rebuilding process of Liberia’s educational system, having recounted the impact of the 15 years of civil war had on the sector and the huge demand for qualified teachers.
“H.E. Madame Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has done her part and we are committed to doing more with giant steps!” the former Liberian international soccer legend – turned politician Mr. Weah says in Monrovia during observance of ECOWAS Human Rights Day on 16 January.
Mr. Weah whose opposition party Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) won the December 26 presidential runoff observes that war did not only destroy the educational infrastructure here, but has also changed Liberians’ attitude towards education.
With less than a week to take over from first female elected African President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf in a smooth transition due on 22 January, the incoming President accompanied by his wife Clar Weah at the ECOWAS Human Rights event acknowledged the huge demand for qualified teachers and professors for Liberian schools, vocational institutions and universities.
President – elect Weah says he agrees that the denial of access to education is indeed a human rights violation, and argues further that the inability of any child to access education because of the absence of school, sub – standard school or high cost of schooling constitute a denial of the child’s right to education.
Mr. Weah says he hopes and trusts that Liberia’s partners in ECOWAS and the international community will give their unflinching support, lamenting that the vast majority of the institutions of learning here lack science labs, libraries and textbooks; though he says they are crucial to the learning process. He has reaffirmed Liberia’s commitment to the 2020 goal of ECOWAS in promoting education as a human rights obligation.
Outgoing President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf under whose leadership as Chairperson of ECOWAS the regional body set aside January 16 as its human rights day describes the day as significant because the theme of the day is worth commemorating.
She tells audience at the ECOWAS Human Rights Day Second Annual celebration that Authorities of Heads of State of ECOWAS set aside January 16 as human rights day in December 2016 at a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria to promote human rights and inclusive governance.
President Sirleaf suggests that if human rights must be promoted and inclusive governance achieved, women and youths must be educated.
She notes that investing in education and training is essential in building an educated and skilled workforce and as a means of encouraging innovation.
According to President Sirleaf, today Liberia has 1.5 million children in school as part of government’s effort since 2006 to ensuring that the rights to access to education are achieved, though she recognizes that about 17 percent of children of school age are still not in school.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah