A member of the 54th National Legislature, Representative Lawrence Morris of District #1, Montserrado. County, has implored his colleagues of that august body to increase budgetary support for the education sector as evidence to demonstrate their value in education.
Speaking on the Importance of Teachers’ Education to National Development, Rep. Morris said the professional challenges faced by Liberia are numerous and enormous but they are not insurmountable.
“While there is not much that you can do to affect the economy, you can be tough-minded and vocal about what it means to teach, because it emulates from you, how the minds of the young people will be developed in curving and shaping development and how things will improve or deteriorate.” Representative Morris said when he served as a keynote speaker at the 99th Commencement Convocation of the Williams V.S. Tubman Teachers College, University of Liberia.
The college graduated 221 teachers with females making up the majority.
Rep. Morris said teachers play a central role in the development of young people’s lives, adding that the graduates are entering the profession at a time when educational authorities are striving to balance their budgets through cuts.
“Teachers are universally praised for finding solutions to educational problems; they are also condemned as the root causes for all of the problems with schools in Liberia,” he said.
He acknowledged that there is an ideological battle to give befitting definition to teaching, contending that this this rests with those who go through the pedagogical training to teach.
The guest speaker then called on the graduates to cherish their calling as teachers, saying, “Teachers are knowledge delivery mechanism whose effectiveness will be determined primarily by how literate and civilized a society is.”
According to him, educational authorities should encourage young Liberians to take to teaching as an intellectual journey that will transform the country for the better.
He noted that teaching is a profoundly intellectual activity that shapes development in all walks of life, and as such, the need to support teaching in every society including Liberia cannot be overemphasized.
“The good primary teacher knows about child development and how to engage young people across a range of subjects; he or she listens to see who needs help; thinks on his or her feet; knows how to answer wrong questions and provide an art example or comparison to guide towards clearer thinking,” said Rep. Morris to much applause from the graduates.
In her opening statements, the Dean of the William V. S. Tubman Teachers College, Dr. Cecelia Cassell, pointed out that Liberia needs to invest in education.
Dr. Cassell noted in order to achieve the pro-poor agenda of the government, the efforts of the Teachers College at the University of Liberia need to be buttressed with funding and the requisite logistics.
“Our students need to have hands-on training to practice the pedagogical skills we are impacting in them, so a fully equipped and well functional demonstration school is needed to sustain the effort we are making,” said Dean Cassell, who is presiding over her first commencement as Dean of Teachers College.
According to the Dean Cassell, “it is through Teachers education that teachers acquire the knowledge and skills needed to help transform the lives of citizens for the better of any nation,” mentioning that teachers who in training need to know how theory and practice are interwoven.
Also marking special remarks was Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, President of the University of Liberia President, who urged the graduates to see themselves as ambassadors charged with the responsibility of molding young children into proud citizens.