Boakai ‘s Administration Urged To Prioritize TVET For Poverty Alleviation By: Julius Konton

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The group, Youth Alliance for Rural Development (YARD-Liberia) has celebrated international Education Day with a call to the new government headed by Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai, to recognize Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), as a powerful tool capable of uplifting Liberians from the shackles of poverty. YARD-Liberia, through its Program Director Dennis Kromah believes  firmly   that a strong focus on TVET is essential for driving economic growth, reducing unemployment rates, and empowering individuals to improve their quality of life.  Education, he said, is the foundation upon which a prosperous nation is built. Mr. Kromah reechoed the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the education sector in Liberia with a specific emphasis on primary education aligned with Goal Four of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speaking further, he stated that investing in TVET is paramount for creating a robust workforce that will help meet the demands of an ever-evolving global job market.  “By equipping individuals with practical skills and technical expertise, TVET augments their employability potential and facilitates their transition into the workforce, It also strengthens the fabric of our society, as skilled citizens contribute to the economic development of Liberia, fostering self-reliance and social empowerment”, He maintained. Moreover, prioritizing TVET, he indicated, will address the systemic challenges faced by the Country’s education sector. Speaking about primary education, he explained that by enhancing primary education, a solid foundation for lifelong learning can help ensure that all Liberian children have equal access to quality education opportunities.  According to him, such will foster critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills thereby preparing them for the challenges of the 21st century. The YARD-Liberia  head used the occasion to encourage President Boakai’s administration to take immediate action by allocating increased budgetary resources towards the development and expansion of TVET programs, ensuring quality infrastructure, and qualified teachers who can deliver relevant training. The group also named Establishment of partnerships with local and international organizations that specialize in TVET to enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing as well as implementing robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the impact and effectiveness of TVET programs, leading to evidence-based policy formulation and resource allocation. Mr. Kromah stressed that fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation within TVET institutions to nurture the spirit of creativity, job creation, and self-employment is also key to the sector and its people.  “President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s administration must recognize TVET as a catalyst for poverty alleviation and inclusive economic growth and by investing in TVET and aligning primary education with SDG Goal Four, our nation will pave the way for a brighter future, where every Liberian can prosper and contribute to the nation’s development,” Kromah added.  He, at the same time, pledged YARD-Liberia’s commitment to supporting the government’s efforts in the transformative journey and appeals to all stakeholders, including civil society organizations, private sector partners, and the international community, to join hands in said endeavor. At the time, YARD Liberia on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 officially commenced the students and youth crucial technical vocational education and skills training including knowledge sharing meeting in the Country. Held at the Firestone High School in Harbel, Margibi County, the well-attended meeting was very interactive with the exchange of ideas from the participants especially Youths and students.  Amongst other things, the meeting aimed to raise awareness among young students, particularly females and disadvantaged youths, about the availability of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in their community.  The impressive attendance saw over 95% of female youth and students making their presence felt at the meaningful outreach gathering while 5% of the participants were males respectively.  According to YARD- Liberia Program Director, Dennis Kromah , the participation of girls in such an initiative is crucial for promoting gender equality and empowering women in traditionally male-dominated society. As part of the meeting, the students were introduced to the Youth Rising Project, which is an initiative being carried out at Harbel Multilateral High School.  Providing background of the project, Mr. Kromah told the gathering that the project, supported by the European Union in Liberia and its partners, aims to rebrand and enhance the TVET facility across Liberia, with Harbel Multilateral High School being one of the designated sites.  “This initiative will likely create better opportunities for the students to acquire technical skills and participate in vocational education in the coming months when completed”, he further informed them.  Participants at the day long activity both youths and students came from the Firestone Senior High School and Good Shepherd Evangelical High School respectively.  Amb. Dennis thrilled by the active role played by the participants also commended them for promoting collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and experiences among different academic institutions. The meeting according, to Mr. Kromah, marked the beginning of the student and youth stakeholder engagement activities under the Youth Rising Project Phase II, which is being implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). ” These awareness activities are crucial for informing and involving the students in the project and its goals” he noted. At the same time, he stressed that the meeting appears to be a positive step towards increasing awareness and engagement of young students, particularly females and disadvantaged youths in TVET opportunities and the Youth Rising Project within their community.

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