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; the master key that opens the door to opportunities, success and happiness. It is an instrument of empowerment, a great leveler, and a prerequisite to national development and modernization,” said the Liberian leader.

Speaking further, she stated that recent results of the UL exams clearly attest to these problems and suggest what needs to be done so that students graduating from higher learning institutions graduate with the right education and a preparedness to go on into their professional life.

The Liberian chief executive also pointed out that the responsibility for acquiring a quality education also rests with students and their parents, because according to her, no matter the investment in education, they must be willing to utilize it to the fullest.

She also noted that the youth, who comprise over 60 percent of the nation’s population, must demonstrate a desire and willingness to prepare themselves for the future, stressing, “This endeavor must also claim the attention of parents, guardians and supporters if we all are to succeed in the goals that we set.”

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President Johnson-Sirleaf also stressed the need for positive attributes in the country’s educational system. “We want schools, cities, towns and even counties to compete in producing the best students. We want our young people to rely on their ability and their brain in facing academic challenges and not circumventing the system.

We want school administrators and teachers to uphold their dignity and their integrity by teaching our young people self-reliance, self-esteem and confidence,” the Liberian leader furthered. She observed that education in Liberia must evolve and not be stuck in a time warp, barely influenced by 21st century social realities of intense competition for knowledge, workers’ high value on education, the rise of information technology as the source of wealth, and to prepare children to learn how to solve problems, rather than rote memory as the dominant mode of learning.

To solve these problems in the educational system, the Liberian chief executive pledged the Government of Liberia (GoL) commitment to forge a stronger partnership between the private and public sectors in order to improve the quality of education.

“Today, we renew that promise to embark on a new chapter of commitment to peace.

To the Graduating Class of 2013 – all 509 of you – I say: Go out with pride. You and your parents and supporters chose the difficult but correct path to quality education – an investment in a professional future. Utilize your knowledge well, for yourself and for your country. It is one thing to acquire an education; it is a totally different ballgame to apply the knowledge acquired to positive and beneficial use,” President Johnson-Sirleaf added.