On Saturday, January 18, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac praised 19 Liberians for their hard work earning education-related master’s degrees urged them to use their skills, knowledge and abilities to further develop Liberia’s education sector. Her comments were delivered at the welcome back ceremony for those graduates who received scholarships from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Liberia Teacher Training Program (LTTP) to attend the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana and Makerere University in Uganda. The graduates received their advance training in education administration, supervision, curriculum development and other educational areas. Two graduates of the University of Liberia and Cuttington University who received scholarships from USAID were also in attendance.
All of the scholarship recipients were mid-career professionals, chosen through a competitive application process with the expectation that when they finished their graduate degrees, they would return to or move into leadership positions at the Ministry of Education (MOE), Rural Teacher Training Institutes (RTTIs), and universities in the near future. Ambassador Malac noted that the graduates were a resource for the education sector and that they presented an opportunity to increase capacity at MOE, RTTIs, and universities by filling senior positions at all institutions. Two of the graduates have returned to their former positions at Cuttington University and Tubman University, while a third was promoted to Dean at Stella Maris Polytechnical.
The graduates expressed their eagerness to put their new knowledge to work. The spokesperson for the UCC graduates stated that their time in Ghana, although difficult, gave them new ideas and energy to positively impact the Liberian education sector. During the ceremony, graduates from UCC presented their bound theses to Michael Blundell, LTTP Chief of Party.
Representatives from MOE shared their excitement for the return of the graduates as well. Hawa Goll-Kotchi, Deputy Minister of Instruction; Kalipha Bility, Deputy Minister of Planning Research and Development; and Moses Jackson, Assistant Minister of Teacher Education attended the event. Minister Jackson declared that, “Today my dream has come true” as he welcomed the returning graduates, whom he praised as “highly capable.” He also called for the development of a system in which educators are competent in classroom management, content knowledge, pedagogy, learner differentiation, curriculum development, and testing and evaluation.
USAID’s LTTP is a five year project focused on improving the quality of teaching and learning in Liberia by equipping administrators, trainers, and teachers with the most effective tools and relevant methodologies and skills to teach and deliver services. The program began in 2010 and is implemented by FHI360, a Washington, DC, based nonprofit organization. More information on LTTP and other USAID programs can be found online atwww.usaid.gov/liberia under the Education link.