A Major Part of the Whole: Viewing Access to Education as a Pillar of…

first_imgAbstractThere is plethora to espouse on in establishing the significant linkages of education to any society. No matter what form it may take, however, knowing that education is important is one fold where as having access is another.Hence, this paper describes sustainable development from a global perspective and particularly identifies how implications of access to education will either undermine or boost the achievement of the agenda in Liberia. A crux of the argument is “manifest necessities” situating technical capacity as expressed in faculty and infrastructure as engendered in physical facilities asserting that neither without the other can ensure the achievement of an educated society which have positive marriages with the achievement of the SDGs, especially, goal four focused at ensuring inclusive and equitable education and promotion of lifelong opportunities for all. BackgroundThe term sustainable development has for decades formed parts of key policy documents and scholarly literatures. Taking a look at Sustainable Development whether in the new context of the post 2015 global agenda having 17 goals and about 169 targets or the original outlook from the Brundltland Commission, pertains to the survival capacities and incessant needs of populations in ways that cannot be overemphasized.Its significance have spread across cultures and civilizations widely accepted as an appropriate approach that incorporates measures poised to address the present challenges and safeguard present generations to the transition of forth coming generations. The Brundltland Commission defined Sustainable Development to mean development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs (Brundltland Comission Report, 1987).Further conceptualized in the post 2015 SDGs, it can be established that countries especially at the periphery of the international political economy suffering some of the worst vices confronting mankind should consider aligning national development plans with pillars that concern them the most. Liberia has taken a key step by making a launch of the agenda and subsequently selecting priority areas. As in the case of Liberia which is still categorized as a post conflict society striving to breed a stable economy as well as a long term vision of middle class; focusing on the rigid gradation of the education sector is crucial.Key assumptionsWith protracted lapses in the education system of Liberia, lack of political will can be a factor or over layer whereas evidences of incapacity at various levels demonstrate under preparedness to transform an endemic complex shade which has shadowed education in Liberia. System or structural break down appears at the apex. This can be justified by under research and publication by faculty of institutions of higher learning and low zest of students to engage into academic activities alike.Therefore complex webs of challenges have created a circle of inefficiency and ineffectiveness which have not only given a dysfunctional label to the sector, but pragmatically undermined proficiency and professional standards albeit not messy as it has been overemphasized in some instances.AnalysisPortions of the published speech delivered by Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the Fifth Session of the 53rd Legislature on January 25, 2016 show progress in the sector as the inferential statistics were indicative of the development in the educational sector (5,571 public and private schools educating more than 1,579,058). However, the recent population estimates which account for more than 4 million persons most of whom basic or continued education needed may be argued. This further raises more questions than answers with some of the popular ones to be how policies of reform cut across the country especially in rural areas? How physical infrastructure is bridging technical abilities and faculty capacity to result to quality environments of learning?For the former it does not require an expert opinion as most parts of the country are without learning facilities at the higher level adversely leading to huge concentrations of students at the University of Liberia and private universities in Monrovia. This suggests that there exists glaring inconceivable distress where hospitality and convenience should be demonstrated as a result of congestions not only at school campuses but also in transportation services (school buses).On the other hand, physical facilities here are focused on assets of Information technology and laboratory equipment as necessary conditions for contemporary learning to enable state of the art learning. Under any painstaking approach, to ensure access to quality education by ignoring these will not make any difference from a joke.Thus, if the progress of a given society is based on its population, then it cannot be erraticism that failure or stagnation will also be resultant of the same. Hence, formulating and adopting policies(frameworks) like the SDGs as well as other factors for propelling and harnessing growth and development are not distant from conducive learning and they can only make more impacts when a greater portion of the population have access.Conclusion and recommendationsThe paper described sustainable development and provided snapshots of challenges in the education sector as well as assumptions about the existential nature of the same. It contends that education is a crucial national interest to Liberia but inequitably accessible across the country at all levels including technical vocational education, which when not adequately addressed an incessant gap in achieving the SDGs is foreseeable.Hence, more subsidies must be given to faith based organizations to support rural education as it can be agreed that earliest establishments of schools were initiated by faith based institutions like Catholic, Methodist etc. Government must design policies which mandate local government administrations through county development funds to massively support rural education.The university faculties must be leading forces of research, innovation and publication depicting the socio economic, political and cultural issues of Liberia and the relationships with the rest of the world.Support to infrastructure especially laboratory and information technology facilities which are important factors of contemporary learning must be accepted as core. 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