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    Liberia: Ellen – We Want Quality Education, Not Assembly Lines of Graduates Liberia: Ellen – We Want Quality Education, Not Assembly Lines of Graduates

    Liberia: Ellen – We Want Quality Education, Not Assembly Lines of Graduates

Liberia: Ellen – We Want Quality Education, Not Assembly Lines of Graduates

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has raised alarm over the quality of training institutions in the country amid recent mass failure in the just released state run University of Liberia (UL) entrance results. She said while the government applauds the establishment of many institutions of learning, it is also concerned about the quality of training at all the institutions in the country. According to the Liberian leader, it is not sufficient to simply turn out graduates like an assembly line, but rather it is imperative to graduate young people who have received the quality of education that makes them marketable on the job market. President Johnson-Sirleaf made these comments Friday, August 30, 2013 at the 14th commencement exercises of the Stella Maris Polytechnic held at the Samuel Kanyan Doe (SKD) Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. “Let me say that while we applaud the establishment of many institutions of learning, we are also concerned about the quality of training in all institutions. We recognize that it is not sufficient to simply turn out graduates like an assembly line; rather, it is imperative to graduate young people who have received the quality of education that makes them marketable in the private sector,” the Liberian leader cautioned. “We realize that there is no quick fix to this crisis in public education. We acknowledge that we concentrated, in the early years, on enrolment because we wanted to get the children off the farms, out of the markets, from the roads and get them into schools. We did that, and enrolment throughout the country quadrupled. The problem, we found subsequently, was that the quality of education did not measure up,” she pointed out. “Education, especially quality education, is a magic wand; […]

Liberia: Proposing a National Education Conference

Given the shocking headlines of recent days, regarding the mass failure of applicants who sat the examinations for admission to the University of Liberia and taken into account the ongoing downward trend of Liberia’s education system, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said it is imperative to speak about the quality of education in schools today. President Sirleaf recalled that those of her age, who are old enough to remember, can look back fondly on their school days, and say they are proud of the quality education received. She said the educational system was then highly competitive and demanding where the schools, teachers, students and even the region competed for excellence. The Liberian leader noted that indiscipline and insolence were dealt with very firmly while cheating and other vices inimical to progress and productivity were not tolerated. Delivering the 14th commencement convocation of the Catholic- owned Stella Maris Polytechnic on Friday August 30, 2013, at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville City, Dr. Sirleaf explained that while government applauds the establishment of many institutions of learning, it is also concerned about the quality of training in all institutions. The Liberian leader told the audience and the graduating class that government recognizes that it is not sufficient to simply turn out graduates like an assembly line; rather, it is imperative to graduate young people who have received the quality of education that makes them marketable in the private sector. Similarly, Central Bank of Liberia’s Executive Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones has said that it is important to have the will to hold accountable those responsible for reforming Liberia’s education system. Governor Jones said it cannot be overemphasized that quality education is sine qua non for development […]

Two Girls Set Out to Help Sahbu

We recently set out to raise $850 by the end of this month (August 2013) so the Borto Orphanage and School would have food and supplies for the upcoming month. We hoped to raise the money but never thought we’d have two 9 year-old girls help us out. Kennedy Weight came up with the idea to create a braided bracelets and necklaces out of colorful rubber bands and then asked Rachel Holmes to help. Together they set out to sell them for this fundraiser in hopes of raising $9 in three days, instead they earned $85.24 in just two hours! We couldn’t have been more happy to hear such a wonderful story. Little do they know, that money will put a child in school for one whole year and could change that person’s life forever. Thanks girls!

Marathons spring up in West Africa, possibly creating new source for distance-running talent

MONROVIA, Liberia — Prince Weah had no experience with distance-running when he signed up on a whim for a 10-kilometer race in Monrovia four years ago. Like many West African boys, he grew up with dreams of soccer stardom, though he quickly set those aside after unexpectedly placing first in the running event. On Sunday, 20-year-old Weah joined more than 1,000 other runners who took to the streets of this dilapidated seaside capital for the Liberia Marathon and 10-kilometer race, cheered on by hundreds of spectators lining the streets and even a military brass band. Star participant was President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Joined by U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac, Sirleaf donned jeans and sneakers and ran a short stretch of the 10-kilometer race, stopping early on when the course ran past her house. The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner has previously said that “praying for the other runners” is a more effective use of her time than trying to reach the finish line. In remarks to organizers two days before the marathon, Sirleaf described the symbolic importance of the race for a country still recovering from a brutal 14-year civil war in which 250,000 were killed. Liberia is celebrating 10 years of peace this month. “Liberia, too, is in a marathon, a race of sustained peace,” she said. “With victory, you will reap the dividends that come from being a nation at peace with itself. Our goal for Liberia is to get to the finish line, to be a winner.” While Sirleaf alluded to the past, many runners were looking to a future when West Africa might emerge as a force in the distance-running world. The marathon event is one of a few to have sprung […]

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    Admission Standards Toughened at University of Liberia Admission Standards Toughened at University of Liberia

    Admission Standards Toughened at University of Liberia

Admission Standards Toughened at University of Liberia

A private consultant said the days are over when students were admitted into the University of Liberia through bribery or based on how many important people they known. James Dorbor Jallah was hired by the university to manage and administer this year’s entrance examination. Nearly 25,000 high school graduates who took the exam failed. Minister of Education Etmonia David-Tarpeh reportedly said she would discuss the issue with university officials. However, she expressed doubt that all 25,000 students failed the admission exam. Dorbor-Jallah said students seeking admission into the university would study harder if they are made to understand that admission is based on personal ability and not through bribery. He said he was hired because the university has had problems in the past about the credibility and integrity of its admission exam. “There is a perception in our society largely that once you take the University of Liberia admission exam, if you do not pay money to someone, or if you do not have appropriate connections, you would not be placed on the results list. So, the University has been grappling with how they could manage the process whereby people’s abilities would be truly measured on the basis of their performance on the examination,” he said. Dorbor-Jallah made it clear he was not speaking as spokesman of the University of Liberia but rather as a private citizen who was contacted by university president, Dr. Emmet Dennis to help restore public confidence in the university’s admission process. He said the 2013 admission exam was no different from previous exams that had been administered by the university in terms of subject matter content. Dorbor-Jallah said the exam tested high school graduates based on the curriculum of the […]

Liberia Is Making History – New Bill to Minimize Corruption Clears Senate

The fight against corruption is gathering momentum in the House of Representatives, following the passage, by the Senate on 22 August 2013, of the Code of Conduct. This step represents a milestone in Liberian History, as the Code will conscientize all public officials and employees about good governance principles as they exercise their duties to the Liberian People and the State. The Legislature, civil society groups and the Governance Commission, which crafted the Bill, have thrown their weight behind the Code of Conduct Bill. The Governance Commission, a key player behind the Code of Conduct Bill, was set up as the Governance Reform Commission in 2003 during the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement “to address the overarching issues of governance in Liberia” by leading governance reforms through policy recommendations and implementation strategies that advance good governance reforms. “The Act of the National Legislature that created the Governance Commission mandates the institution “to promote good governance by advising, designing and formulating appropriate policies and institutional arrangements and frameworks required for achieving good governance and promoting integrity at all levels of Society and within every public and private institution”. Congratulating members of the Liberian Senate on the occasion of the passage of the Bill, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Chairman of the Governance Commission, said: “I am deeply gratified that the Senate has passed the National Code of Conduct Bill. Special thanks to those members who managed the Bill throughout the process leading to its passage, especially Senator Jewell Howard-Taylor and President Pro-Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley, who worked tirelessly with their colleagues for the passage of the Bill. “We now call on members of the House of Representatives to concur with the Bill so it can be submitted to the […]

Liberia: Massive Failure in UL Entrance

The administration of the University of Liberia has disclosed that no student passed in the entrance and placement examinations. Recently, the University of Liberia administered entrance exams to more than 24,000 students. At a press conference Wednesday, the head of UL Relations Dr. S. Momolu Getaweh said no student earned the scores of 50 percent in Math and 70 percent in English as previously set by the university as passing scores for the undergraduate examinations. Similarly, the administration of the University of Liberia also said no candidate who sat for the graduate programs for the Law School and School of Pharmacy exams scored 70 percent. The UL administration said holding these results constant, no candidate would have otherwise been admitted to the university for academic 2013/14 in the above programs. However, the UL said in the case of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine where the score of 70 percent is required as passing grade, 47 candidates made 70 percent and above. Considering the massive failures, the UL administration said two separate meetings were held to find a way out. Dr. Getaweh said as a result of the meetings, the UL Senate reviewed several other scenarios below the benchmarks and recommended for the admission of 1,626 candidates who scored either at least 40 percent in Math and 50 percent in English in the undergraduate program. He disclosed that 25 candidates for the College of General Studies (Continuing Education), 93 candidates in the six graduate programs, 37 for the Law School and 24 for the School of Pharmacy were recommended for admission which has been endorsed by the Faculty Senate. However, the UL administration said candidates in the undergraduate division would be required to take two […]

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    Liberia: ‘Liberia’s Development Relies On You’ – USAID Mission Director Tells Private Sector Liberia: ‘Liberia’s Development Relies On You’ – USAID Mission Director Tells Private Sector

    Liberia: ‘Liberia’s Development Relies On You’ – USAID Mission Director Tells Private Sector

Liberia: ‘Liberia’s Development Relies On You’ – USAID Mission Director Tells Private Sector

The newly-appointed Director for Mission to Liberia at the United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID) says Liberia’s development greatly relies on the private sector therefore; the government cannot operate properly by itself without the assistance of the private sector. Remarking Tuesday, August 13, 2013, at the opening of a two-week trainings organized by the United States Agency for International Development (IESC\IBEX program) in Monrovia for commercial bankers, SMEs and TOT, Mr. John Mark Winfield revealed that health, agriculture, education, energy among others are key sectors in the development of a country that cannot be done alone by central government. Said Mr. Winfield: “The development of Liberia like any other country is implacably linked to you. It’s linked to the private sector and its ability to make a contribution to the development of a country. It cannot do without investors; it cannot do it without strong business plans. We are supporting small medium enterprises because they are key to the development of Liberia.” Speaking behalf of the Central Bank Governor, the Director for regulation and supervision department at the CBL Mr. Mussah A. Kamara thanked USAID Liberia for its continue support to the rebuilding process of Liberia. Mr. Kamara said there is a need to improve the current credit culture that exist in the Liberian banking environment, noting that dealing with the problem of nonperformance loans and poor credit culture requires a comprehensive strategy to cleanup bank balance sheets and make them fully responsible for their lending operations. Said Kamara: “To achieve this therefore, the CBL has instituted and continues to institute series of measures to address the poor credit culture in the country. In this light, the CBL has issued a directive to banking […]

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    Liberia Police Cracking Down on Bribes Liberia Police Cracking Down on Bribes

    Liberia Police Cracking Down on Bribes

Liberia Police Cracking Down on Bribes

DAKAR, SENEGAL — Liberia’s police force says it is cracking down on officers demanding and accepting bribes, following the release this month of Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer report. The Transparency International report found 77 percent of people surveyed in Liberia paid a bribe to police in the past year. That has sparked outrage in Liberia, where motorists said policemen routinely demanded small bribes, or as they said in Monrovia, “a small thing before you go.” Liberia’s police spokesman, Sam Collins, said any officer taking a bribe would be fired and could face criminal charges. “Any attempt on the part of any officer to get involved in acts unbecoming of the police officer, that officer will be dealt with.  There will be no turning back,” he said. Drivers of commercial vehicles said they were particularly targeted by police looking for bribes. Driver Bull Davies said an officer can stop you for a violation, real or imagined, and demand payment of as much as $15 or 500 to 1,000 Liberian dollars. “They will threaten to give you a ticket or will not give you a ticket.  Then they will tell someone give me 1,000 or give me 500.  They will receive that 500 and they will not give a receipt.  They will not give you anything.  They receive it and they leave.  They gone,” he said. A commercial driver typically only earns about 1,000 Liberian dollars per day. But ex-policeman Morris Tamba said officers were also sometimes just trying to make ends meet. “If you are paid on time, [they] give you good salary on time, everything on time, the bribery will not be received as much as it is now.  The corruption will be eliminated.  Take an example.  […]

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    The Most Corrupt Countries in the World The Most Corrupt Countries in the World

    The Most Corrupt Countries in the World

The Most Corrupt Countries in the World

More than half of the world’s population believes corruption in the public sector is a very serious problem. Liberia and Mongolia are the two most corrupt countries in the world, according to a recent study. In both countries, 86% of residents believe corruption in the public sector is a very serious problem. Residents in the vast majority of countries around the world believe corruption has only gotten worse in the past two years. Anti-corruption nonprofit Transparency International has released its 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, which surveyed residents in 107 countries. The world’s corrupt nations differ in many ways. Four are located in Africa, three in Latin America and two in Asia. These nations also vary considerably in size and population. Mongolia has just 3.2 million residents, while Mexico, Nigeria and Russia are three of the largest countries on the globe, each with more than 100 million people. Based on the percentage of surveyed residents that reported corruption in the public sector is a very serious problem, these are the world’s most corrupt nations. What many of these nations do have in common is that their people are largely opposed to corruption. Globally, 69% of people questioned by Transparency International said they would report corruption if they encountered it. In seven of the nine nations with the worst corruption, residents were at least slightly more likely to oppose corruption. In Paraguay, one of the countries with high corruption, 90% of citizens said they would report corruption, while 87% and 86% said they would do so in Mexico and Russia, respectively.