Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hike in Tuition Outweighs MOE Mandate

Hike in Tuition Outweighs MOE Mandate
-Education Minister, Appears before Plenary Today

By Bill E. Diggs
After numerous appeals by parents to the Government of Liberia (GOL) for a reduction in the skyrocketing tuition fees in the country, the Minister of Education, Dr. Joseph D.Z. Korto, has disclosed that the Ministry of Education (MOE) had not been mandated to control tuition fees paid to private schools.
Recent numerous appeals of parents have raised eyebrows over the past weeks and Dr. Korto is expected to appear before the 52nd Legislature today to address issues concerning the hike in tuition fees in private schools.
However, in an interview with a team of reporters on Monday, August 24, 2009 at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion, Minister Korto disclosed that the issue of controlling hikes in tuition was beyond his Ministry’s statutory mandate.
He said that the Ministry of Education’s mandate was to oversee and supervise the curriculum and academic calendar, among other activities. Such mandate, he added, covers both public and private schools.
“But let me say this, the Ministry of Education, yet does not have the statutory mandate to regulate school fees that are being paid,” Min. Korto disclosed.
The Minister did not say who has the mandate to regulate school fees in the country, but acknowledged that Liberians live in a capitalistic society where private schools, which are part of the National School System, are not being administered by the Ministry.
“The different school systems determine what level of tuition fees they can charge,” he added.
He accentuated that the Government could prevail on private schools by bargaining with the schools on their skyrocketing fees for a possible reduction.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liberia’s Professional Shoemaker has Falling

Liberia’s pioneer shoemaker and businessman, Matthew G. Kpeh, 56, on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at about 5:30am met his untimely death by heart failure at the St. Joseph catholic Hospital where he was admitted.
Mr. Kpeh was born on January 7, 1953 in Moweh district # 5, Rivercess County. In all his life time, Mr. Kpeh got many achievements as a businessman and a professional shoemaker despite his educational background.
In 1975 having graduated from the Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Centers (LOIC) Mr. Kpeh established the MKS shoemaking shop on McDonald Street under the Crown Hill cinema in Monrovia where he mended shoes for President Williams R. Tolbert.
During the 80’s Mr. Kpeh was the President of the Shoemaker Association of Liberia and by 1985, he was awarded a scholarship by the then President of Liberia, Samuel K doe, whom he made shoes for to go to Italy and study shoemaking.
He retuned to Liberia in 1986 and become a teacher of the Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Centers (LOIC) Shoemaking Department up to 1990 when war broke out at the countries border and he had to flee for his life.
He returned to Monrovia in 1992 and established the Come and See Bakery no McDonald streets where he began producing meat pie and other pastries until 2009 when he added cook food to his menu.
In 1995 Matthew G. Kpeh won the award businessman of the year. Also that same year became father of the year of the John Jackson Powell United Methodist Church on Warren Street.
Mr. Kpeh remained very committed to his native home Moweh district #5, Rivercess County and by 1998 he became chairmen of the Moweh Development Association up to January of 2009 when he resigned from the post.
During the general and presidential elections of 2005 Mr. Kpeh served as the campaign chairmen Moweh district for the Liberty Party, where he canvassed a huge some of votes for his party.
Mr. Kpeh was married with 11 children to Mrs. Durcas Nukah Kpeh, who predeceased Him in March of 2008 in a motor accident.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Armed Robbers Raid Firestone

Police Dragnet Catches 15

During the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 12, 2009, the homes of some key Firestone administrative staff were robbed at gunpoint with at least one sustaining severe physical injury.

Speaking to the Daily Observer, LNP Chief Superintendent Susannah Blackie of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) police detachment said she received a call at about 1:30am that there was an armed robbery in progress in the Firestone concession area, so she called on the LNP Emergency Response Unit (ERU) to go there.

The homes that were victimized, according to Blackie, were those of Firestone public relations manager, Rufus Karmorh, who sustained an injury to the head and was taken to the Duside Hospital; and chief of administrative affairs, Mrs. Onu Abdallah Keshen.

Chief Supt. Blackie did not say whether there was an exchange of fire in the area, but said that the ERU responded with efficiency and rounded up 3 of the robbers on the scene. The 3 have since been moved to the Central Police Headquarters in Monrovia.

She added that several other alleged criminals were raided yesterday morning in addition to the few that were arrested that night.

Asked what could be done to avoid recurrence of the situation, Chief Supt. Blackie said that they needed logistics because that makes the work much easier.

She alluded that armed robbery in the concession area has been quiet for some time, but since more young men moved into the area of late, from Monrovia, armed robbery has returned to her control area.

“Those guys that were arrested, majority of them don’t live here, they live in Monrovia; but they come, you know, and their friends harbor them. Then, at night they go around damaging and taking people things away”, she said. But key sources within the concession area are saying that some of the alleged armed robbers are men who were down-sized from the Firestone security apparatus, the Plant Protection Department (PPD).

When contacted by this reporter to elaborate on the burglary at her home, Mrs. Keshen said that she was so stressed up and couldn’t make any comment until after an hour or so, but when further contact was pursued, security at Mrs. Abdallah home said that she was sleeping and didn’t wanted to be bothered.

However, according to information gathered earlier by this reporter, several armed men, some with machetes, knives and guns, entered the home of Mrs. Keshen and took away her jewelries, money and laptop, among others.

Mr. Karmorh, who was admitted at the Duside Hospital for the injury he sustained on his head, could not be contacted to explain what occurred in his home because medical officials said he was taking rest.

Meanwhile, Margibi county District number 3 Representative, Saah Gbollie, condemned the act of robbery in his district and has urged all residents of the plantation to cooperate with the police in cracking down on crime in the district.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Masonic Craft Identifies With The Needed

-Vows Quarterly Donations
The Charity Committee of the Order of Eastern Star of the General Grand Chapter of the Masonic Craft on Saturday, August 8, 2009 donated consorted food and non-food items valued over US$2,000 to three needed related orphananage homes in Monrovia.
The Anthonette Tubman Cheshire Orphanage Home (ATCOH), on 10th Street Sinkor, Cheeseman, amongst the three beneficiaries, received five bags of rice, a cartoon of fish and chicken and Mango Candle.
Other items included a cartoon of bathing soap, clora and toileteries.
The Director of ATCOH, Ms. Famatta Collins thanked Worthy Sister and Brother Irene L.M. McIntosh and Anthony W. Deline, General Grand Worthy Matron and Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star for the donations, as well as the Charity Committee, headed by Worthy Sister Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah for the kind gesture.
“The Anthonette Tubman Cheshire Orphanage Home, a resident of 14 multi-disability, between the ages of 1-49 is grateful for the donation and we hope this will not be the last,” Ms. Collins smiled.
The head of maternity of the Liberian-Japanese Friendship Maternity Center- the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, receiving the two bags of rice and two cartoons of children used clothes and consorted items, extended her thanks and appreciation on behalf of management and promised to use the items for the intended purpose.
“We can assure you that these items will be used for the children and as you promised us, we hope to see you again,” Dr. Jallah averred.
The head of the Americans for Africans Adoption Incorporated (AFFA), Ms. Oretha J. Wesee, located in Paynesville, told journalists that the donation is the first in six years.
Ms. Wesee asserted that the home is housing 27 abandoned children, two of whom are multi-disable, between the ages of 5 months to 11 years, and is a recognized institution established in 2002.
“We give God the glory to the Eastern Star of the General Grand Chapter for such timely donations and we want to tell you that they will use for the intended purpose,” Ms. Wesee avowded.
Worthy Sister Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah told journalists that the donation is way of identifying with the needed in the country and is the first donation since her appointment in March-2009, and vowed to have a quarterly donation to the needed institutions.
“The items were donated by Worthy Sister Irene l.M. McIntosh, Past Matron, Ruth Chapter Number 8 and General Grand Worthy Matron, Order of the Eastern Star and Worthy Brother Anthony W. Deline, Past Patron, Adah Chapter number Four and General Grand Worthy Patron, Order of the Eastern Star,” Worthy Sister Saytumah, Honorary Past Matron, Queen Esther Chapter Number One, stated.
Other members of the Charity Committee are Worthy Sister Esther Page, Past Matron, Dorcas Chapter Number 3 and Worthy Brother H. Augustus Roberts, Jr, Distric Deputy General Patron of Grand Bassa County and Past Patron of Ruth Chapter Number Eight.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Traditional Culture Returns

The RLJ Kendeja resort and Villas has launched a weekly Liberian cultural night which tends to promote cultural activities in as well as attract tourist to the country.
The Launching ceremony brought together people from all walks of life in Liberia to witness a glamorous performance of the Bassa, Vai, Kpelle and Dan traditional dance groups as well as the preparation of some Liberian traditional dishes.
The former Liberian Cultural centre was so lighted that it signifies that the commitment of the RLJ Kendeja Resort and Villas towards Liberian culture and economy and especially to support the local Kendeja community is not just a hollow phrase, but is really being put into action.
The General Manager Ronald praised the performers who colored the occasion with their swift bodies stating that the Liberian Culture was appreciated and has the potential to attract guests if it is presented and promoted the right way.
“I think this is the way forward, not only for Kendeja but for the tourism sector in general. We will increase this kind of activities and launch a monthly changing Contemporary Liberian Art Exhibition on the 22nd of July with works from the artist David Wollobah,” Ronald added.
He further averred that at this moment they are also developing a range of special Kendeja products, postcards and arts and crafts in collaboration with the Kendeja community and craftsman, which can be sold in their shop to support the concept of traditional night and the Kendeja Community as well.

Miss Liberia Donates to orphanages

During the latter weeks of July, about four Orphanages and at least one displaced center in Montserrado County benefited from aid donated by the current Miss Liberia, Shu-rina R. Wiah.
Moved by compassion, Miss. Wiah visited Anna M. Enoch Orphanage in Upper Caldwell, the Gold Child Orphanage in VOA, among others, and identified with approximately 114 orphans between ages two and 18, on July 27, 2009 and donated about six 50kg bags of rice, four cartons each of candles, detergent soaps and Vaseline.
The day-long orphanage tour came to an end in Mount Barclay displaced center where she donated about three 50kg bags of rice, one carton each of candles, detergent soaps and Vaseline to the elderly people of the camp.
Miss Wiah was accompanied by some of her able lieutenants who aided her as she dispensed her tender aid to the orphanages and old folks in Montserrado County.
In an interview with a team of reporters, Miss. Shu-rina R. Wiah said her donations were based on her quest to be a role model for other young women and being Miss Liberia affords her that opportunity.
She prioritized education, saying that education is a medium for national development and without education the nation will not move forward.
She said the cause of education is her target as it will help young people in making the right decision for the country as well as themselves. She also stressed the need to eradicate teenage pregnancy in Liberia.
“The problem of teenage pregnancy is due to the high level of illiteracy in the country. I believe that if young people are educated on the effects of teenage pregnancy it would be eradicated,” she averred.
Miss Shu-rina Wiah, 21, is studying Public Administration at the African Methodist Episcopal University with the desire of becoming a lawyer to defend the rights of women and children.
With a strong empathetic disposition, Shu-rina condemned the act of rape and sexual exploitation, saying that men involved in such act are psychopaths and should be dealt with.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

CRC Considers Assistance for TC

CRC Considers Assistance for TC
Plans are underway by the management of the Cavalla Rubber Corporation (CRC) in Pleebo, Maryland County to provide support towards the rehabilitation of the William V. S. Tubman Technical College (T.C.) in Harper, the County provisional capital.
TC is the only higher institution of learning in the underserved Southeast but its camps was ruined by the civil war and effort are being garnered by the government and partners to restore the College.
In an exclusive interview in Pleebo with a team of journalists from Monrovia recently, the General Manager of CRC, John Y. Barkemene, said his company intends to soon offer material and financial support to have the Technical College working once again. He did not say what would be given or the amount to be involved. However, he said, if refurbished, the institution would serve as beacon of hope for thousand of young people in the south east as well as a medium for development in the region. He noted that the institution would also attract development to their area in terms of resource capacity building; providing both academic and vocational education free-of-charge.
Mr. Barkemene maintained that if Liberia was to progress in its post-war reconstruction, government should provide training to young Liberians in a way that they could meaningfully and effectively contribute to rebuilding process of the war-torn country.
He further explained that the civil war did not only destroyed lives and infrastructures, but it also created a huge gap in terms of brain-drain, which makes it incumbent upon all development agencies, key stakeholders as well as government to highly consider the provision of basic skills and techniques for Liberians in order to enable them meet the mounting challenges of the future.
The CRC General Manager pointed out that the United States of America, Great Britain, Japan, and other rich nations are what they are because they invested a lot in their people. Barkemene states that Liberia could achieve similar feat by drawing up appropriate national programs to develop its human resources.
“When we took over Cavalla in December 2007, paramount among out plans was the training and retraining of our employees in every sector of the establishment. Some of these trainings will take place in Liberia and others abroad.
He indicated that his company was bringing in new equipment to set up a modern process plant. He disclosed that the equipment would arrive in November and the plant will be commissioned in December by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Barkemene said once full production activities begin following the installation of his new equipment, CRC would employ more persons, increasing job opportunities and alleviating poverty among the population.
He promised that similar CRC scholarship scheme, which through several students hailing form Maryland County are being sponsored at various universities including Cuttington and University of Liberia would be introduced at TC to afford less fortunate students in the County an opportunity to attain tertiary education.

CRC GM, Barkemene