‘Criticism Made Me Complete My Education’ – Pres. George Weah
Report by Mae Azango, [email protected]
Monrovia – President George Manneh Weah has disclosed that criticisms made him strong and contributed to his courage to continue his education while seeking the presidency.
According to the President, had he not mustered the courage amid criticisms, he would not have reached where he is today.
Delivering the opening statement on Monday, May 21, at the start of a National Education 2018 Conference in Kakata, Margibi County, President Weah challenged Liberian children to muster similar courage if they must be successful.
“I know some of you people criticized me by saying that I did not go to school. But criticisms also make you strong. So if you cannot accept criticisms, you will not advance yourself. It is better for people to criticize you for you to know the truth than for them to praise you when you are spoiling yourself. It was because of criticisms, I was able to sit down in classroom,” he recalled as he addressed his audience.
He historicized that, in 2005 during the national debate, he sat with two giants: Ambassador Winston Tubman and Ambassador Nathaniel Barnes, when he was just a 12 grader.
Having realized that he needed to change his life and the only way was to go back to the classroom, President Weah narrated that he decided to continue his education.
“I can remember when I decided to go back to school when my kids were also in school, I went to high school with children I could born. They referred to me as ‘hey pops.’ I was not ashamed. I stayed and graduated and went to college. This is why I am standing before you today giving you some pieces of advice to those who will utilize them to the best of their ability,” he added.
As he spoke about the significance of education, the President urged Liberians to stress to their children the importance of education.
“So, life is about us; if you feel the only way to achieve something is to go back to the classroom, you must do it; do not be ashamed. As students, you should also be encouraged to allow others to help you. If I was running from responsibilities, I would not be here today,” President Weah stated.
Commenting further, President Weah underscored the importance of quality education in Liberia.
“Are our young people getting the education that they need to compete at the highest level with other students in other societies? Are educators professionally trained to meet these challenges and deliver quality education? Are our educational infrastructures up to standard and equipped for our students to perform? As President, these are questions that trouble me constantly,” he stated.
According to the President, education has helped to make him who he is today and that in spite of how talented he was in sports, he would not have been where he is today without a good education.
The Liberian Leader further told the audience, which included students, that he can speak about what it feels like to have an education and the difference it makes to be educated.
President Weah used the occasion to briefly explain his journey to being where he finds himself today.
“Let me explain a little bit of what got me here today. I am a humble example of a child who was deprived of education. I was not given a chance to be in school. I guess my full potential came through sports. I left from here for Cameroon, where I was given an opportunity to play football. Here I am standing before you as the President of the Republic of Liberia. So, as a student, once opportunity is given to you, make sure to work hard to achieve what you want to achieve.”
Also speaking, the Minister of Education, Professor Ansu Dao Sonii, called for collective efforts to improve the education system instead of blaming.
“If blames were solutions, this country will have sufficient money to develop the highways and sophisticated platforms,” Prof. Sonii said.
According to him, as a legacy, he hopes to develop, in six years, an irreversible foundation for Liberian education thereby fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education in 2030.
According to him, this would require a restructuring of the development framework for education delivery units, shifting attention from knowledge only to competence driven platform for teaching.
“This goal sets the pace for delivering employable life-long skills to posterity satisfying the human resource competence on the national development agenda.
“The strongest most persisting challenge in fulfilling this goal in the six-year time framework proposed is the availability of dedicated resources in a magnitude equal to or greater than the mission,” Prof. Sonii indicated.