Career foreign policy czar B. Elias Shoniyin has recommitted the George Weah led government to improving the core competency of Liberians. Shoniyin, who is the Deputy Foreign Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said education is pivotal to the sustenance of peace.
In the last 75 years ago, since Liberia begins industrialization, the country core competency has been the exportation of raw materials something which most observers have said is untenable and undermines the country development and peace.
“We know that to maintain the peace, we must make education a paramount commitment of Government” said Shoniyin.
The Deputy Foreign Minister said one of the overall objectives of the government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) is to promote and encourage quality education “That is why Pillar I of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development – promises power to the people,” he said.
The Deputy Minister, who was speaking at the 4th graduating exercise of the Nimba Community College (NCC), said President Weah’s Pro-Poor Agenda is restoring the Liberian educational system evidence of tuition fee waiver at public tertiary institutions and rolling out of vocational training in high school.
He said, the national vision bearer, George Weah, recognizes that education is a catalyst for driving sustainable socio-economic development which would lead Liberia into a prosperous future. “President George Manneh Weah demonstrated his Government’s unrelenting dedication when he declared tuition free for all public universities and colleges in Liberia on October 24, 2018” he noted.
Shoniyin further intoned that this administration recognizes that the empowerment of Liberians is essential in a country where 60% percent of the population is under the age of 35, many of whom are war-affected youths, some of whom have now turned adults, who did not have the opportunity of education or skill.
“They [youth] remain the most vulnerable elements of our society, however, the PAPD will give them a chance to live a normal life, to seek an education, to engage in small enterprises, to regain their respect and dignity,” Shoniyin exclaims.
He told graduates that the government and the people of Nimba County have given them an undeniable platform, the Nimba Community College, where they have engrossed themselves in the doctrine of academia for the last two years.
The Minister said the students have acquired skills that have given them the potential to build successful lives, and are now prepared to enter society with Associate degrees. “The challenge now is what you have planned to do with these skills, and how you intend to apply them?” he asked. The answers and subsequent actions would determine how far you go, he admonished the students.
He revealed that the new journey has set them on the path of great possibilities to becoming leaders in their respective fields, which can only be achieved by continued inquiry. Shoniyin said that by conferring degrees on the students, a sacred heritage is being handed down to them with great expectations.
The Minister said the reputation of the College will be defined by the graduates’ actions and intellectual discharge as they engage in the communities and the larger society.
He told the graduates that they were graduating from college during a very difficult and rapidly changing time. “Our country is being challenged with economic infliction not of government’s actions or inactions, but by natural circumstances” said Shoniyin.
“Our two major exports, iron ore and rubber, are struggling to stabilize since being hit by global price decline in 2014; the drawdown of UNMIL, leaving hundreds of former Liberian employees jobless, and turning off millions of dollars in economic infusion from the foreign military and civilian staff of UNMIL” said Shoniyin.
He noted, “The problems we confront today as you enter the real world are huge but not insurmountable, as we are blessed with a responsible Government which is on record of promptly responding to the calls of its people. You now have the opportunity, when we leave here today, to join ranks with those who build, those who construct and those whose creativity have given hope for a better Liberia”.
He further admonished, that for them to succeed in this increasingly competitive world, they need to continuously nurture the ability to think strategically, and sustain the capacity to deliver effectively. He inspired the graduates to be open-minded to the numerous chances that are ahead of them and not to pass over those possibilities. He urged, they must develop a good attitude.
“I encourage you graduates to have an open mind to the many possibilities that await you. To tap into those possibilities, you must cultivate a positive attitude”.