Education and thinking; A gateway to building a stronger nation

francis-portrait

I know someone is out there asking; “what is about education and thinking”?  My friend here I come to you with the answer that might not be the perfect one but it entails some details answers to your question. Education is the practice of sustaining learning, gaining of knowledge, talents, values, principles, and tradition and acquiring it involved different methods which include storytelling, dialogue, coaching, exercise, and fixed investigation. Education often takes place under the management of instructors, however, apprentices may also acquire it by themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any knowledge that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational.

Thinking can be considered as the act of generating thoughts. Proving that thought is an ultimate human activity accustomed to everyone, therefore, there is no commonly known covenant to details as to what thought is or how it can be generated.

The fact is that thought triggers many human activities and collaborations, ranging from its fleshly and abstract heritages, methods, and effects has remained an enduring objective for numerous disciplines.

Thinking provides the humans with the ability to sort logic of, construe, characterize, perfect the ecosphere and make forecasts about what they experience. Hence, it’s indeed helpful to  human as a guiding tool for setting up needs, goals, wishes and as tool for  making the agenda  in the pursue of accomplishing every dreams.

In every region of the world and with every human, development starts with thinking and education. When the citizens of a country become positively thoughtful, they will become patriotic and educated and will be adequately informed about their government. Thus, their ability to monitor, investigate and make the government functions adequately and more pro-actively will become easy and the affairs of the citizenry will be considered as a priority by the government. Adequate information sharing and quality education are very much cardinal to the growth of any country.

However, this need to be put into a context so that its fits into the cultural dimension of a region or country in-order that the people who are perceived to be the ultimate beneficiaries can easily understand the methodological approach. Once you connect a new idea to what someone previously know, learning will become easy.

When a leader of any country provides quality education and build policies that are developmental friendly, transformation and growth will force its way into that country. The way you think influences your behavior and the way you behavior helps to direct your destiny. One of the core reasons for Liberia’ 14 years war was triggered by our thought patterns.

To the citizens in general, self-esteem, integrity and personal accountability should be the core guide in the quest for quality education. Building a social capital is vital in actualizing development. More coordination and networking among different kinds of professionals and sector is the bed rock and the road map through which ideas can easily be cross pollinated and solution can be found to those problems that existed before.

About the Author:

Francis Egu Lansana is a civil society leader in Liberia. He works for Accountability Lab Liberia. His passion for community participation, governance and development is inspired by humanitarian groups and the world leaders who strive for global stability. He studied Sociology and Political Science at the University of Liberia. He has written several articles including his recent article on “Media for Change Makers” published by Peace Journalist Magazine in the USA and other media institutions like the bush chicken and  heritage news paper.

Contacts:

 

Standard

A Nation in Transition.

Since the start of Liberia civil war in 1989 till now, the security sector of Liberia has been in the hands of foreign nationals thereby leaving the citizens without trust in the national security. Many persons during this time were exposed to active participation into war-fare given them an insight of military and gorilla tactic, increase human right abuse ranging from rape, child right abuse, force labor, gender based violence, murder, drugs abuse, etc.

 Though the United Nation and other internationals bodies contributed to bring the state of Liberia to where it’s today, yet there still remain many challenges. These challenges encompasses, reintegration of ex-combatant, re-orientation of children associated with fighting forces re-building trust between the ordinary citizens of Liberia and the national security sector, etc. Today, there are 1000s of disbanded arm forces of Liberia along with members of warring faction that exited who are unpleased with the current political, socioeconomic and administrative occurrence within the country. Now that UNMIL who has been in control of the security sector mandate is coming to end and there will be a political transition in 2017 if nothing is done  to address these challenges the nation Liberia and its citizens remain in serious threat and the likelihood of the out-break of uncontrollable violence remains eminent.

 

Insecurity is a primary development challenge of our time and a significant barrier to the achievement of the development agenda especially the upholding of democracy.  These challenges are further complicated by the changing nature of conflict that involves multi-level, intra-state conflicts of extended duration and marked by recurring cycles of violent conflict. The fourteen-year civil conflict in Liberia has led to the increase of human rights abuse and introduced many Liberians into deviant behavior. During the war, most of Liberians experienced the worst situation of violence ranging from rape, sexual abuse, economic exploitation, torture, etc.  Women and children rights were abused on a daily basis without concrete actions taken as a deterrent to this inhumane act.

 

Though the Liberian civil conflict is over, yet the use of violence by many citizens of Liberia is still on the increase.  This is because of the weakness of the Liberian laws and the corruption that has engulfed the judicial system thereby leaving the citizens without trust in the government especially the judiciary and the security sector. It also can be attributed to the lack of proper security civic education outreach.

Besides, inadequate financing of long term programs that will address a comprehensive judiciary and security sector and improve judiciary/security citizen’s positive relationship, there has existed   the situation where violation has been considered to be acceptable practice in the minds of the people. Children are being denied their fundamental rights to education, participation in community social issues, healthcare, etc as most parents and community leaders are with the view that children are people without rights. Up to now, children are still been grossly abused most especially girls children who have been frequently rape and killed.

Since the end of the Liberia civil war in 2003, the security sector has been in the hands of foreign security personnel especially United Nation Mission In Liberia (UNMIL). This has created many weaknesses for the national security sectors thereby making the citizens of Liberia to not  have confidence in the national security.

The issue of crime is on the increase and the life of citizens is threatened. When you visit the principal streets of Monrovia today especially around central Monrovia, you will see many young Liberians considered as (car loaders) chasing taxi with the hope of snitching people valuables such as lap-top computer, smart phone, etc. Of recent, there was clash between the Liberia National Police and the commercial motor cyclists which resulted into burning of police station in Redlight community in the city of Paynesville. Many of similar violence has been occurring and it continue to occur in other parts of the country. During the out-break of Ebola in Liberia, when West Point one of the communities considered to be hardly hit by Ebola was quarantined, the residence of this  community has clash with the national security and it resulted into the loose of life and leaving several others injured and also led to damaging of properties.

Considering  UMIL draw down and the 2017 political transition, there is a need to closely work with chiefs, youth and other local authorities to identify those potential threat that are related to this transition and work with them in-order to avoid to re-occurrence of what the country went through during the 14 years civil war. Causes which led to the 14 years’ war such corruption, nepotism, etc are still perceived to be on the increase in the country. During 2005 general and presidential elections second round between Unity Party of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Congress for Democratic Change of Georgw M. Weah, there was an election violence that resulted into damaging of properties and leaving many people injured. In 2011, the same act was repeated between the same parties. Understanding that Liberia is a post war country, many people were exposed to military knowledge and Liberia also lies between two post war countries; Cote D’voire and Sierra Leone which has placed Liberia in a highly risky security zone especially when UNMIL shall have pull out in conjunction with the 2017 political transition.

 

Standard

Where bad governance exist, citizens are denied certain basic social eminities such as transportation. Inhabitans of Monrovia srcambling over commecial vehicle in Monrovia.In the absent of priority in setting up developmental agenda, achieving the goal of this agenda is far from reach. Since Madam Sirleaf was elected into power in Liberia as the first female democratically elected president of Africa oldest republic, there has been conferences putting together a road map for better Liberia ranging from Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), Vision 2030, etc, yet nothing much is done. Every system in Liberia is getting worse. Common example is, commuters from sub-urban settlement around Monrovia are finding it very difficult to get to central Monrovia for business transaction, a place where 90% of the government ministries and agencies are located.

If you live or visit around  Monrovia city sub-burb specifically Duala on the Bushrod Island, Gardnerville, Paynesville and Old Road you will realized that bad governance in Liberia has denied the citizens of Liberia the right from some basic social services such as transportation. Life is getting difficult day-by-day. Liberians are tired of empty promises said some college graduates whose spent their days to coffee shops in Monrovia not because they are without skill but because there is or are no space  for them to practice what they know.

Education in Liberia is like a waste because there is no system set for placing people on job based on what he/she knows. In fact getting job in Liberia doesn’t depend on what you know but “who know you”. The youth stressed. If you look around the streets of Monrovia today, you will realize that many young people in the streets are either selling or riding motor cycle. This is because they are not seeing actual transformation in the lives of their peers who have gone through the walls of academic institutions. As such the value or enthusiasm for quality education is dropping in Liberia.

University of Liberia, the oldest institution of higher learning in West Africa and the state only own institution of higher learning in Liberia is not among the first 100 ranked Universities in West Africa.  Yet, Madam Sirleaf whom majorities of Liberians voted because of her academic profile, instead of building the medium to give quality to the nation educational system, she condemned it by saying “the educational system of Liberia is a mess”.  We accept your condemnation Madam president. Yet we want to know your role as a head of the state in cleaning the “mess” you mentioned. A leader most condemn and recommend way forward.

Majorities of Liberians in Liberia today are like refugees in their own country. To afford daily meals is imaginable as the streets of Monrovia is getting flooded with petty traders whose income can feed them for only a day. Food prices are sky rocketing day-by-day, rise in school feels are not to be over emphasis and access to quality medical care for 98% of Liberians in Liberia is out of reach.

Judicial is a central pillar for building democratic state, yet this institution is no more trusted proven by many  inhabitants of Monrovia/Liberia always using violence to attain justice for themselves, read here .  Also it is noticed that  a good number of the state security personnel are in the service just for mere job seek but not for the protection of the state as their code of conduct says through the oath of allegiance.  This is evidence by  police corruption according to Transparency International Index report2014.

A member of the house of legislature will prefer to ride a car value at US$40000 while his or her constituency is without a clinic or a high school yet they claimed of been working in the interest of the masses.  Police are without proper uniform yet the directors of police are riding US$ 40000 worth of vehicle. Boarders are without proper security, even though polices are find in every street corners of Monrovia, immigration cars with the inscription “Boarder Patrol” can been seeing plying the streets of Monrovia there by leaving boarder entries without security.

Link

 

The first Ebola patient in Liberia was discovered in March 2014 in Foya District, Lofa County located in the North-western region of Liberia (MoHSW). Foya is sharing a common border with the Republic of Guinea the first country in West Africa to have an alarming Ebola case. According to reports, the first person to be diagnosed of Ebola in Liberia came from Guinea. When this disease was first pronounced in Liberia, the citizens including the government did not understand the gravity of it and therefore less attention was pay to it.

But the epidemic of Ebola has created not only  health hazard ,economic hardship rather it has caused physical insecurity leading to president of Liberia declaring state of emergency thereby causing closure  of jobs, business and tighten the free movement of people in the country (declaring curfew). Educational system and investment activities are all at stand still. The spread of the EVD is getting intensify day-by-day.

The fight against this disease is becoming the concern of every Liberian. Having recognized the importance of music in transforming society, Accountability lab in partnership with the Business Start-Up Center  have united all musical artists  to form one common front in this fight against EVD. It is often said “in union strong success is sure”, this has manifested itself in Liberia in the fight against Ebola as all musical artists in Liberia have come together to speak with one voice.

According to the artists, their work has the potential to easily and widely spread educative message to every corner and to everyone. Therefore coming together is one of the best thing to do as a musicians in helping to educate all inhabitants of Liberia about the dangers of Ebola, how to prevent it and to re-brand Liberia.

This is a national call and every citizens of Liberia contribution in either way is very much useful in this fight. The situation is getting worse as West Point, a slum in Monrovia which host a population of over 50000 people.

Psycho-social contribution is greatly needed in this fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link