One of the underlying causes responsible for the constant student unrests on the campuses of the University of Liberia and other higher institutions of learning in the country has been attributed to political interferences, according to Prof. Geegbae A. Geegbae, Dean of the Business College of the University of Liberia.The Economics Professor said political interferences in terms of admissions, mobilization of youth to get involved in politics at the expense of their studies have serious repercussions for education. He also stated that these constant unwholesome actions on the part of student prolong their stay on campuses.Though Prof. Geegbae failed to delve further into the nitty-gritty of the political interferences, our reporter said it has been established in time past that external political factors from some officials of government have led students to stage riots in the so-called name of advocating for social-justice for the ‘voiceless masses.’Prof. Geegbae made the assertions when he served as guest speaker at the graduation of the over 250 participants from the 2014 cycle of the Liberia Institute of Public Administration (LIPA) over weekend.He spoke on the topic, ‘The Challenge of Providing Adequate Professional Training for Public and Private Sector Employees for Efficient Service Delivery in Liberia’s Reform Agenda: The Role of LIPA.’The UL Dean of Business College further stated that once an institution of higher learning, like the UL, shifts from an educational or professional mode to a political mode, it becomes difficult to get it back to its original state.“They set trends that are unhealthy for growth. It is important and necessary to develop norms and values that prevent political interferences in academic matters,” Prof. Geegbae said.For his part, the Executive Director of LIPA, Oblayon Blayon Nyemah, Sr., said from the background of civil service reform, the civil service has been in disarray, while patronage permeated every sector of our public life making it difficult, if not impossible to deliver efficient services to the Liberian people.He said the post-conflict government inherited a moribund civil service; personnel were ill-trained, inadequately compensated and as such de-motivated and therefore the service seized to be the main machinery of the government bureaucracy as far as service delivery is concerned.“However, the plethora of reform initiatives undertaken by the new civil service administration, complemented by the tripartite coordination of the Governance Commission and LIPA, signals a renewed commitment to reinvent the machinery of civil service bureaucracy,” Mr. Nyemah said.The conferral officer of the 2014 First Training Cycle graduates, Amb. Commany Wesseh said Liberian manpower is worrisome because poor foundation and most of them bribe their way through to get degrees.Amb. Wesseh, who is the Minister of State without Portfolio, indicated that most university graduates do not know the different between the pronoun ‘I’ and the plural ‘are.’He urged graduates of the 2014 First Training Cycle to see themselves as new servants but must stop from clerical positions instead of Assistant Ministers.“It is better to start from the foundation in your offices than Director or Assistant Ministers, because if you are sacked you won’t know a damned thing,” Mr. Wesseh said.He added: “Don’t also be a Senator as soon you finished school, it’s better to rise to any position.”Meanwhile, registration for the 2014 2nd Training Cycle is in process and would end on Monday, 4 August 2014.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Share Laura IsenseeTeacher Sam Brower leads a class at an alternative learning environment for students who are not taking the state standardized exams this week. Brower said that his lesson tries to teach about discrimination through a Dr. Seuss book.Last spring, computer glitches caused massive problems for students trying to take the state’s standardized exams. Now the company responsible for administering those tests has to pay $20.7 million in fines.The initial price tag on those fines is $5.7 million.But the company Educational Testing Service, or ETS, also has to invest $15 million to prevent future computer problems.“I believe this combination of liquidated damages with an additional financial commitment from ETS reflects the correct balance of accountability for the recent past and safeguards for the future,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath in a statement.The problems with ETS caused thousands of students to lose their answers to online exams. There were also reports that exams got sent to the wrong location and that scores were delayed.The problems were so widespread that the Texas Education Agency told all fifth and eighth graders they didn’t have to pass the test or retake it.Texas students must pass the state exams – known as STAAR – to advance to middle school and high school. Students also have to pass exams in five core subjects in order to earn their high school diploma. Scores factor heavily into school accountability ratings.The fine is a fraction of the total business between Texas and the New Jersey-based testing vendor. ETS won a contract last year worth $280 million to administer Texas exams.