Speaking over the weekend at the induction ceremony of the Student Council Government of Conduit of Potentials Vocational School in Paynesville, Barh said technical and vocational education (TVE) is an integral part of national development strategies in many societies around the world because of its impact on productivity and economic growth.
He told the students on Saturday, January 26, 2013 that “technical and vocational education holds the key to national development.” He argued that the design of Liberia’s educational system is flawed, owing to the neglect of technical education which he observed is an obstacle to national development.
“Not everyone needs a university education. In Liberia, vocational schools are regarded as inferior to regular academic schools. But in advanced nations, those with technical/vocational trainings are highly regarded. Individuals with years of field experience work in tandem with those with academic degrees,” Barh said
Further, he insisted that the worth of every worker depends on the person’s skills and knowledge, and not on the stack of academic degrees he or she has. He suggested among other things that “Liberia must learn to blend theory and practice in its education because theories alone cannot serve any useful purpose.”
Barh maintained that technical education is a planned program of courses and learning experiences that begins with exploration of career options, supports basic academic and life skills, and enables achievement of high academic standards, leadership, preparation for industry-defined work, and advanced and continuing education.
Regrettably, he observed that Liberia is terribly lagging behind in preparing its labour force for the 21st century economy.
“Adult education is also imperative as it would assist those who, could not complete their primary and secondary education to acquire basic skills, and for the retired, who constitute greater part of the unemployed group in the society, to retrain for a second career.” He then stressed that no nation would make any meaningful socio-economic stride without well-equipped technical and vocational institutions.