The President signs the Education Reform Act, Liberia

Without being flippant about a serious event, here are some photos of the President actually putting pen to the Act. This is how the grand lady enacts laws! You can see that she takes the following important steps:

1. check that the pen is a suitable writing implement (Hmm no gold fountain pen – I’m disappointed),

2. write something to be sure the pen works,

3. check the wrist watch to get the right time and date; and finally,

4. add the autograph! An act becomes a law. 8th August 2011

(Apologies for the incorrect focus – I was forced to hold the camera above the crowd and just shoot, so most of the images do not have the President in focus.)

There are some who might suggest that the signing of the new Education Reform Act on 8th August 2011 was just another election-related ploy, but there are some worthy components within it which if implemented could benefit the Liberian education system. The biggest plus of the Act is that it devolves a lot of responsibility for education matters to the County level, and eventually even to the Districts. Anyway, my policy is not to delve into Liberian policy and politics in this blog. What I really wanted to do was to add a few photos from the signing event which I attended. Unfortunately, I cannot post video here, because I recorded an incredible young man singing with the school choir. The song, “That’s the sound of victory” was inspiring.

A personal observation: the Lady is strong! I don’t know how well I’d stand up to her gruelling schedule. She sits through events and listens to speech after speech, and sometimes she must be as bored as bored. But when its her turn to respond, she’s as sharp as a tack. She refers to previous speakers comments, she makes jokes, she gives sharp messages, and she’s as quick-witted as ever.

Now let’s watch the implementation of the Act…

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Liberia’s Daily Chalkboard – conveying the news to those who cannot read

I’m going to try a new thing here and embed an external video into the post. When you are in Monrovia, you can’t miss this Daily Chalkboard by the side of the main road intersection with the turn-off to Spriggs airfield. I’ve never seen a crowd as large as that in the video, but there are always a few guys hanging around looking at the headlines, and every driver snatches a quick read of the headlines as they drive by. Its a great idea to convey the news verbally and simply to those who are illiterate, but of course, it still requires someone who can read to tell the story to those who can’t. I guess at least it gives a focal point where people can get the news for free in simple words. Bravo for creativity.

Most Liberians get their news and information from the radio. UNMIL Radio (UN Mission in Liberia) is the only station with nationwide coverage, but most county centres have a local radio station that covers the local news stories and interviews local celebrities and leaders. I’d like to write more about this in a more detailed post another day sometime in the future…

Now to see if I can make the technology work to achieve my objective of sharing with you the interesting video from the TIMES video about the Liberian Chalkboard in Monrovia. Here it is…its worth a look.

Liberia’s Daily Chalkboard Newspaper (video)