EMPOWERING LIBERIAN WRITERS
Ministry of Education Deserves Pat on the Back for Program seeking to make writings of fame Liberian authors requirement in the classroom
THE ADVENT of years of civil war has seen Liberians from all walks of life pen their tales of how the survive a devastating period which left their homeland in shambles.
FOR YEARS, prior to the war, Liberian classrooms at both the high school and college level were marshaled by stories about Liberia told from the perspective of Europeans and Americans.
VERY FEW STORIES told by Liberians made it into the classrooms. Now, it appears all that is about to change.
THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION in collaboration with the United Nations International Children’s Fund(UNICEF) is embarking on a program to have Liberia authors’ books instituted in the syllabuses of Liberian schools.
WE APPLAUD Minister Othello Gongar and the Ministry for undertaken such a unique program and open a window of opportunity for bonafide and talented Liberian writers to showcase their work.
ADDRESSING THE LAUNCHING of the Albert and Bertha Porte Foundation in Paynesville on Sunday, May 1, 2011, the minster averred that the ministry is looking to shape a new focus on Liberian writers. “We are working in collaboration with the Liberian Writers Association to acquire books written by Liberians,” the minister said.
TO DATE, according to Minister Gongar, the ministry has acquired the writings of the late Bai T. Moore’s Murder in the Casava Patch and Ebony Dust along with The Obituary of Hawa Barchue.
THE ACQUISITION comes in the wake of one of the biggest problems facing post-war Liberia: The absence of a reading culture to keep youngsters and students busy, especially after school.
THE MINISTRY’S support to the Albert and Bertha Porte Foundation shows that there is at least a willingness on the part of the government to improve the learning landscape of a post-war nation lagging behind the rest of the world in reading.
WE HOPE that the ministry will work diligently to encourage each and every school in Liberia to adopt a reading culture and if possible work with UNICEF and other international organizations to ensure that each and every school in Liberia has a library.
LIBRARY MUST become a mandatory requirement for schools and government must introduce mandatory library time in schools at least once a day.
TOO MANY of our youngsters are wasting their after-school time on the streets selling goods when they should be home studying or in the library reading.
IF LIBERIA is to conquer the post-war fear of reading, we must all contribute our part to ensure that our children take to reading again. But it begins with the willingness of all to play a role. The introduction of the writings of Liberian authors in our schools shows that the government and the Ministry of Education is ready to give a platform to talented writers but the schools too must play a role in making sure that the quest for reading culture is a worthy one where are children and grandchildren will once again feel the urge to read without being told to pick up a book.
THE CULTURE of reading begins and ends with Liberia embracing its own, writers who would have otherwise been forgotten to the pages of history and trapped in the sands of forgotten time.
We at the ministry has been look at libraries, not just for books but for books printed by Liberians, produced by Liberians and are focused on Liberians. We are working in collaboration with the Liberian Writers Association to acquire books written by Liberians. Today, the ministry has acquired the book, Murder in the Casava Patch. The ministry will beginning this week send fifty copies of Murder in the Casava Patch to the Library. And as we acquire more of those books written by Liberians, we will keep the library on the list. In collaboration with UNICEF, we are printing the books of Liberian writers. Some of the books now on request include Ebony Dust, The Obituary of Hawa Barchue and Jelemon by Dr. Sherman. We have those on request and as we complete printing we will send fifty copies to the library. This is our meager contribution to preserve the legacy of a giant.
This government inherited a country devastated by war. The focus is on building a foundation and the foundation is still being built. So as we try to build the foundation, we must now move away from secondary education to post-secondary education. We hope that as we move on that we will be able to restore the years that the war took away.