My View on President Bush’s Memorable Gesture to Liberia
By: J. Momolu Kaindii, Jr.
Looking through the crowd, one could see curiosity, expectation and hope latent in the faces of the jubilating crowd jamming every inch of the only boulevard. At the University amidst very tight security, students stood on toes as President Bush announced 1 million textbooks and some scholarships. The anxious students greeted the gesture with enthusiasm because for decades students in many Liberian schools from primary to college levels have not use to learning from prescribed textbooks. Lots, if not all, have learned from abridged hurriedly prepared notes and pamphlets.
At secondary and college levels, students have heavily relied on pamphlets prepared and sold to them by their instructors. Because selling pamphlets to students has become lucrative business for teachers, learning materials in most of the pamphlets are hurriedly researched and poorly prepared. The Liberian students will forever remain grateful for President Bush’s gesture, particularly for the scholarship. One could only hope that the scholarship would be fairly bided to enable most needed students to benefit.
President Bush support to quality education for the Liberian children is well welcomed. But I would like to encourage President Bush to consider converting the cost of the 1million textbooks into a grant exclusively for Liberian teachers and professors to devote their energies into writing textbooks that will reflect Liberian culture and environment. The grant could be administered and monitored by the US Embassy in Monrovia to remove any suspicion of mismanagement or misdirection.
In my view, grant targeting Liberian teachers and professors to write textbook will contribute more concretely to Liberia’s post-conflict educational development. It is about time that Liberian children as future leaders begin to learn from textbooks that reflect the culture, economy, politics and environments of Liberia. In this way, the children will grow with full knowledge of the social, political, economic and scientific and technical problems confronting their society. They will hence develop the necessary national consciousness to move towards attacking those problems. I strongly believe that 1 million American textbooks that do not reflect Liberia’s reality will have lesser impact on Liberia’s current educational development needs.