UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Dr Qian Tang has visited Liberia to review and support two projects being implemented in the post-conflict country recovering from the outbreak of Ebola.
The first, a UNESCO-China-Funds-in-Trust (UNESCO-CFIT) project, supported by USD 700,000 funding from the Government of the People’s Republic of China, targets three rural teacher training institutes with the focus on establishing and refurbishing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) laboratories and integrating ICT pedagogy in their curriculum. So far over 120 education professionals have taken part in workshops and training.
In Monrovia, Mr Tang also inaugurated the UNESCO-CFIT ICT computer laboratory at the William V. S. Tubman Teacher College, University of Liberia, together with Mr George K. Werner, Minister of Education of Liberia, and Mr Zhang Yue, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Liberia.
The second project was launched under the CapED programme in 2012 with a focus on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and has worked closely with the government’s Inter-Ministerial Task Force (IMTF) for TVET to develop the first-ever National TVET Policy and five-year operational plan.
Preparing for the global market
Because the lack of reliable data on the demands for skills and the supply of TVET remains a challenge for policy-makers, the next step will be the development of a national technical team trained with support from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics.
Speaking at the National TVET Legislation Validation seminar, Mr Tang said: “…nearly 80 per cent of the Liberian population under 36 is unemployed.” He added the CapED project provided a great opportunity to all Liberian youth to acquire tertiary education and be prepared for the global market.
During the visit Mr Tang met H. E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, who assured him of her government’s commitment to accelerate the implementation of the CFIT and CapED projects. He also held discussions with Mr C. Saah N’tow, Minister of Youth & Sports, Mr Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism and Mr Neto Zarzar Lighe, Minister of Labour. He was accompanied by Mr William Allen, Ambassador of Liberia to France, and Benoit Sossou, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja.