“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruits”

first_imgWhen President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tapped CSA boss George Werner to head the Ministry of Education, it came as a surprise to many and perhaps the question on their minds was, “Is he the right one for the job?” The question stems from the fact that many of the “old and experienced hands” could not deliver on the task given them.The Liberian education system is emerging from a prolonged and brutally destructive period of civil unrest. Liberia is significantly behind most other countries in the African region in nearly all education statistics.After 14 years of civil war, which resulted in the destruction of much of the country’s trained workforce, the country is still in the process of rebuilding its educational system, according to the USAID.To compound it all, in 2013, 25,000 persons who sat the University of Liberia exams failed miserably that it caught the attention of the world. President Sirleaf finally had to admit that the system is a “mess and requires a complete overhaul.”That Liberian students could not pass a university entrance without garnering headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons meant our education system has indeed faltered and is no longer in its pre-war years when it was second to none.And even after the cessation of hostilities twelve years after and the appointments of seasoned educators, that sector continues to take a nosedive.And so many are wondering about the background of the newly appointed minister and what has he to offer to our already broken system. Education, it seems, has been the lifeblood of this young man nearly all his life.George Werner holds a BA in Education from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome and a Master of Arts in social work (concentration in social policy) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice while earning a cumulative GPA of 3.80. To sum it up, he studied didactics, (which is the science of teaching) as a one year non degree course at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. And he has taught across the world from Liberia, South Africa and the United States of America.Prior to his appointment, he currently serves a Director general of the Civil Service Agency, one of the many government agencies that was dogged by the issues of ghost names, salaries etc. He spearheaded the Civil Service reform in an effort to regularize the civil service, optimize the size of government and professionalized the workforce for improved service delivery.Lest we forget that he currently oversees the inter-ministerial scholarship from bilateral partners and under his watch, scholarships are given on merit, unlike the yesteryears when the doling out of scholarships was mired in the patronage system.As mentioned supra, President Sirleaf has already claimed that our education system is a mess. And now that herculean task of dry cleaning that mess rests squarely on the shoulders of George Werner and his team of lieutenants.First, he has to use his magic wand to clear the names of ghost teachers on the payroll, teachers receiving their salaries on time so it doesn’t obstruct teachings and teachers who are yearning for employment but are yet contracted.Then there’s the issue of competency of the teachers. Having an undergraduate degree doesn’t necessarily mean you are qualified to teach. Teaching, like any profession, has ethics that govern the teachers.Due to the fact the many of our teachers eschew teacher training, the line of demarcation between a teacher and a student, howbeit thin, is hardly ever seen. Hence, there are always reports of intimacy between teachers and students. Few years ago, a teacher of Cathedral Catholic School was remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison for having an intimate relationship with an underage female student. This is one area the incoming minister will have to apply fifty shades of gray.In order for a student to compete with students from around the globe, he/she must be taught from a rather strong curriculum. Truth be told, Liberia’s education curriculum is antiquated. When the trial exams of West African Senior School Certificate Examination were administered, it was only Elvis Juasemai, a student of the Soltiamon Christian School System, emerged by the skin of a flea with flying colors. Another issue constantly overlooked but can certainly be given the limelight when Werner takes office is the absence of extracurricular activities in our schools. Extracurricular activities are those that fall outside the realm of school or university education. Most times students go into university without knowing what to do. That’s because they never found their niche in high school, thanks to the lack of extracurricular activities in these schools.In a commentary titled, “Neglecting Extra-curricular Activities Could Perpetuate Poor WAEC Results,” Liberian journalist Momolu Dorley laments: “Extra-curricular activities is a crucial component to education in any successful country because it allows the student to learn about theatre, about passion, imagination and self-discovery. I am of the conviction that one of the joys of education is letting folks discover the pleasure of learning for them.”As a former teacher, Werner understands fully the significance of extracurricular activities and its contribution to the growth and development of students cannot be over emphasized.Werner has an ambitious plan to get the education sector better than what it was during the prewar years. To have a smooth sailing, he needs the support of all and sundry. Currently, government spends 12% of its annual budget on education, a paltry sum when one compares it to Ghana which currently spends 33% of its annual budget on education.Yes, the expectations are high and to whom much is given, much is also expected but we must be reminded by the words of the French playwright artist Jean Baptiste Poquelin, also known by his stage name as Moliere: “trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruits.”About the author: Gboko John Stewart, a product of Monrovia College, is a freelance journalist and radio talk show host. He has been accepted to study at Quest University Canada. He runs an online petition on change.org and has gathered over 1000 signatures calling on the Canadian government to lift its visa ban on Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone so that he and others can travel there for studies.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Kofi Woods Ready For Gov’t

first_imgAtty. Woods wants the country’s forest remain preserved.Human Rights activist, Attorney Samuel Kofi Woods, has challenged the Liberian government to do what is right, or else “take me to a court of competent jurisdiction to answer for my stewardship.”Atty. Woods’ challenge was contained in a statement he issued yesterday as a rejoinder to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s recent assertion, insinuating that he must take responsibility for any wrongs at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) during his tenure.The former Minister of Public Works recently urged President Sirleaf to take responsibility for National Oil Company of Liberia’s (NOCAL) woes, which has plunged NOCAL into financial crisis.“I fully agree and commend President Sirleaf for her response to my recent comments on NOCAL intimating that “she takes responsibility for what happens in all ministries and agencies of her government, “and I should take full responsibility for what happened at the MPW during my tenure, even if I was not directly involved,” Woods noted.Woods said he has not, and would not shy away from any wrong that he may have done as Minister of Public Works.“I have repeatedly said both in public and in private, and in my various communications to the President that I stand ready for any scrutiny. I implore and challenge the government to do what is right and take me to a court of competent jurisdiction to answer for my stewardship,” Woods said in a strongly-worded defensive statement.He, however, expressed gratitude that Liberia is reaching the point where Liberians can collectively end impunity and ensure that the government accounts to the people for her stewardship, both past and present.For him, he said Liberia appears to be ushering into the age of accountability.In his recent comment, Woods urged the Liberian government to ensure that all public officials – past (he included) and present —submit to similar (accountability) processes without discrimination.He believes that the failure of the government to exhaust the process of accountability is a neglect of its duty, which encourages impunity and subject individuals in government to collective guilt.“I will not be perturbed. Liberians will seek justice and demand what is right! No smear campaign will stand the test of me as I maintain my position on NOCAL,” Woods vowed.The President, in her recent address to the nation, announced that the head of NOCAL will be honorably retired and severance benefits paid out.To that assertion, Atty. Woods disagrees, believing that a full management audit must be conducted in the NOCAL saga to include financial, procurement amongst others.He said Liberians need to know why a once potentially viable entity such as NOCAL has so spectacularly collapsed.“The response, in the immediate aftermath of what appears to be the latest evidence of the inescapable failure of a national asset is inadequate, is limited, is insufficient and is disconcerting, if not out-rightly disingenuous.”When the President openly vindicates rather than demand accountability, she sends the wrong signal to a public, which now views our government’s actions with much consternation and deep mistrust,” Atty. Woods, who was once a Labor Minister asserted.He said information on the situation at NOCAL was well known to the Administration of President Sirleaf a long time ago, “but the President chose to look the other way and do nothing.”“The full scale of the consequences of NOCAL’s decline,” he said, “must not be lost but it must be brought to the full view of the public and responsibility taken to address collateral damage to innocent citizens and institutions.”He stressed the need for Liberians to ensure that students benefitting from NOCAL’s scholarship programs are given special consideration.“We need to deal with our national human resource deficit and therefore cannot afford to let them become victims of this (embarrassment),” the rights activist noted.“I therefore, propose that the recommendation on severance and retirement payment be suspended until a full report on NOCAL is submitted to the nation through an independent process. The Board bears equal responsibility and therefore may not be the competent authority to conduct a house cleaning exercise.”He added that accountability institutions in Liberia, including the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), the General Auditing Commission (GAC), and the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) should take the lead, move in immediately and act consistently with their respective mandates to bring the ongoing situation at NOCAL to its logical conclusion.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

The Best Jobs and Career Advice for Economics Majors

first_img Entry-Level Economics Major Jobs Don’t feel pressured to immediately select your dream career  — start small by simply identifying where your passions lie. For example, if you really enjoy identifying trends in data and crunching numbers, you would likely be well-suited for a field such as data science or statistics. If you love learning about how legislation affects the market, you might consider pursuing a career in policy. Research which titles are associated with each field, and browse open roles on Glassdoor to get a better idea of what your job options are.It’s also worth considering which kind of working environment is best for you based on your personality and work style. If you want to move quickly and make a big impact, you may want to consider working at a small, nimble startup. If you’re passionate about serving the public good, a career in government may be for you. And if you want to work with large data sets and have significant resources at your team’s disposal, you may want to work for a larger, more established company or financial institution. Where to Begin Your Career After Getting an Economics Degree Job Search Tips for Economics Majors Skills for Economics Majors Regardless of your major, many of the typical job search tips will apply — for example, it’s always a good idea to network with others in your field, research the companies you’re interested in and rehearse before an interview. But there are a few things that economics majors should be particularly mindful of.Think outside the box. Most economics majors know that there are plenty of job opportunities for them in finance and government, but don’t discount the private sector! Many companies, especially in tech, are increasingly seeing the value of hiring economists, and roles in demand forecasting and data science are available everywhere from retail companies to software as a service (SaaS) companies.Go on as many informational interviews as possible. Because there are so many different career paths within economics, it’s critical that you research your options thoroughly. While you can certainly find a lot of information online, there’s nothing quite like talking to somebody firsthand to understand what a certain job involves and how you can make your application stand out. Not sure who to go to? Turn to your friends, family, online network, alumni associations and professional organizations for contacts.Hone your technical skills. In today’s high tech, data-driven world, hard skills reign supreme. Look up which technologies, software programs and coding languages are associated with the field you’re interested in, and then familiarize yourself with them. For instance, many economists in private sector jobs regularly use R and Python, so gaining a working knowledge of those languages is sure to impress. Learn More Most Common Jobs for Economics Majors With so many options, where should you begin your internship search as an economics major? Here are a few ideas to get you started.Economics InternshipsFinance InternshipsGovernment InternshipsAccounting InternshipsConsulting InternshipsTech InternshipsPolicy Internships If you’re majoring in economics, congratulations — you will likely be entering a lucrative field! In fact, Glassdoor found that economics was one of the highest-paying college majors. Some of the most common jobs for economics majors include:Financial AnalystAccountantResearcherInvestment AnalystBusiness Analystcenter_img The skills you gain from studying economics are invaluable in an era where companies are increasingly looking for candidates with a quantitative background. Your economics studies will give you tools that are highly desirable in the workplace, such as:Data analysisMathematicsQuantitative reasoningCritical thinkingKnowledge of how markets operateAn understanding of business Top Jobs for Economics Majors EconomistAverage Base Pay: $102,339/yrEconomists interpret data, perform research, identify trends and make predictions based on the information that they gather. Contrary to popular belief, economists don’t just work for the federal government or think tanks — it’s one of the hottest jobs in tech right now, and many other mainstream companies are jumping on the trend as well.Data ScientistAverage Base Pay: $117,345/yrWith a high job satisfaction rating, median base pay and number of open jobs, Data Scientist has earned the #1 spot on Glassdoor’s Best Jobs in America list for four years in a row. At their core, Data Scientists look at large volumes of data in order to identify trends and derive insights. This information is then used to influence business decisions.ActuaryAverage Base Pay: $105,031/yrActuaries analyze the probability of certain events happening. Often employed by insurance companies, they typically look at the likelihood of risks like fires, accidents or flooding to help inform the financial strategy behind insurance policies.Management ConsultantAverage Base Pay: $105,461/yrManagement Consultants are responsible for providing high-level recommendations on how a business should be run. Focused on efficiency, improvement and profit maximization, these influential employees identify areas of risk and opportunity throughout a business’s operations in order to drive growth.Pricing AnalystAverage Base Pay: $68,611/yrPricing Analysts combine analytical skills and market research to strategically determine the optimal price for products and services. Specific tasks may involve conducting a competitive pricing audit, working with secret shoppers, monitoring the price of raw materials and collaborating with product marketing teams on pricing strategy and messaging. Finding a job right out of college can seem challenging, but there are plenty of great options for new graduates who majored in economics. A few ideas to get you started:Data AnalystResearch AssociatePolicy AnalystOperations AssociateAssociate Underwriter Internships for Economics Majors Receiving your bachelor’s degree in economics doesn’t have to signal the end of your formal learning. Many universities offer master’s and PhD programs in economics, although whether or not you decide to pursue one will depend on what exactly you’re hoping to get out of the experience.Universities in the United States typically don’t offer bespoke master’s programs in economics, but there are a few who do, as well as many options abroad. A master’s in economics will usually take between one to two years to complete, and will cost in the tens of thousands of dollars range. However, they can be beneficial to those who are hoping to climb the ranks in financial services or consulting.PhD programs, on the other hand, typically don’t cost anything, as they’re fully-funded by universities. They take between five and seven years to complete and are best for those who are hoping to work in academia or pursue high-ranking positions in fields like government, research and policy. It’s worth noting that both master’s and PhD economics programs involve a great deal of math, so if that’s not your forte, you might want to consider an alternate path.Another common advanced degree for economics majors to pursue is an MBA. MBAs can help provide you with invaluable business and strategy skills, and position you well for management and leadership roles. MBAs typically take two years and cost in the tens of thousands of dollars range — however, MBAs often lead to higher salaries down the road.Some common roles for economics majors don’t require an advanced degree, but do require additional licensing or certification. This includes jobs like:ActuaryPersonal Finance AdvisorAccountantSecurities Trader Continuing Education Now that you know which types of jobs to look for and where to apply, brush up on some job search basics to prep yourself for success! From resume advice to interviewing tips and more, Glassdoor’s got you covered.How to Get an InternshipThe Guide to Getting Your First JobHow to Write a ResumeHow to Write A Cover LetterThe Ultimate Job Interview Preparation GuideHow to Succeed in a Case InterviewHow to Negotiate Your SalaryHow to Succeed in Your New Job50 Highest Paying College Majors20 Most Popular Jobs for College Graduateslast_img read more