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GOL Snubs Traditional Council’s Peace Building Retreat

first_imgAt least seven government officials invited to participate in the just-ended two-day national peace building retreat by the members of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders (NACCEL), chose not to attend, and the gathering of over 250 chiefs and civil society organizations expressed disappointment about their behavior.Government officials invited included Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, National Elections Commission (NEC) chairman Jerome Korkoya, Attorney General and Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh, Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh, Senate Pro temp Amarh Jallah and House Speaker Alex Tyler. Former Internal Affairs Minister Blamo Nelson, who was also invited, was absent.Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, who was also invited but could not personally attend, was represented and expressed his regret and also declared declared his support for the initiative. He stated that traditional leaders must educate Liberian children to make peace with themselves in building a peaceful society for the future.Until the closure of the retreat yesterday evening, there was no official communication from the absentee government officials about their absence, which was interpreted by the elders and chiefs as a sign of disrespect.According to organizers, the retreat, which brought fifteen paramount chiefs from 15 of Liberia’s sub-political divisions, was intended to deliberate and find the way forward on recent disturbing issues that have come up in the country.On the first day of the retreat, Chief Zanzan Karwor, head of the National Council of Chiefs, catalogued events including the mysterious of death of Harry Greaves, Jr., the arrest and the subsequent disturbance by hundreds of young people who demanded the release of the victim and most of all the call for Liberia to be designated as a Christian Nation, a suggested clause which Liberian Muslims regard as a plot by some disgruntled politicians to divide the country and throw it into chaos.The theme for the first day was ‘Dialogue among leaders to promote peace and patriotism, nationalism and national symbols’ and was moderated by Cultural Ambassador Juli Endee.The second day’s theme, moderated by Rev. J. Emmanuel Z. Bowier, focused on ‘How to sustain peace using traditional mechanisms (peace hut).Other organizations that failed to send representatives included the Press Union of Liberia, Campaigner for Change and Sure Liberia, the Liberia Council of Churches, Civil Society Organization and the Lebanese Business Community.Those present were representatives of the Muslim Council of Liberia, Coalition for Transformation of Liberia, MOH-Global Communities and The Carter Center.Ambassador Endi moderated the final session, titled ‘the way forward’ but without the presence of government officials intended to get involved in the discussion and the deliberations, the elders and chiefs expressed their disappointment.The chairman of the Coalition for Transformation of Liberia, Archie Sannor, who was recently arrested and later released, told the chiefs and elders that the young people do not disrespect their leaders, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.However, he recounted corrupt practices by unnamed government officials that have been prosecuted and mentioned the abundant natural resources that are not used to make life better for ordinary Liberians.“We are citizens of this country, chiefs and elders, and so when things are not done for the people, we as young people have the right to demand why from our government, and this is interpreted to mean disrespect to our leaders,” Sannor argued.Sannor appealed to the elders and chiefs to engage the government to change how things are done in the country to bring real development to the land and its people. “We don’t have electricity, poor roads and even some roads are constructed three times, wasting money that could have been [saved if the job was done well the first time]. Our country, compared to others is the worst and least developed, yet we are blessed with natural resources that other countries don’t have,” he said.Representing the Muslim Council of Liberia, Ali Sylla, re-echoed the council’s position against Proposition 24, which calls for a referendum to decide making Liberia a Christian Nation, and instead recommended, among other things, education and economic empowerment to Liberians of all faiths.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Director of elementary report card says rankings push educators for higher performance

first_imgSecondary School ratings are set to be released on May 14, 2015. He says improvement in student success could be the result of numerous different factors, some of which may not be a direct result of the school, but Cowley argues that it “behoves every principal and every teacher to find out” the factors at play.“Improvement is possible. It can be done in any part of the province; it doesn’t matter where you start – well below average in some cases [or] well above average in other cases,” says Cowley. “The only thing that matters is the direction you’re going in, and it should be up.”“Who benefits when the direction has gone up? The kids – and that’s what public education and education in general is all about.”Other schools in the Peace River North School District with above average scores were Baldonnel at 7.6, CM Finch at 7.3, Bert Ambrose at 6.2 and Alwin Holland at 6.1.Advertisement Here in the northeast, nine schools topped that average, led by JS Clark Elementary in Fort Nelson with a 9.5.Upper Pine got the highest ranking in the Peace, and its score of 8.0 put it on a list of the 50 schools showing the most significant academic performance improvement.This year’s rankings are for the 2013-14 school year, and Peter Cowley, the Institute’s Director of School Performance Studies, has high praise for Upper Pine – arguing it is now worthy of benchmark status.- Advertisement -“Here’s the thing; you got 50 schools out of the 978 in this report card that has shown statistically significant improvement over the school year of 2009-10 until the most recent school year, 2013-14,” explains Cowley. “Every principal in this province and every teacher in this province should say, ‘Is there anything I can learn from the schools that have shown improvement?’”In the North Peace, Cowley uses Upper Pine as the prime example.“They moved from 4.9 out of 10 in 2009-10 to 8.0 out of 10 in 2013-14,” Cowley goes on to say. “This is a pathfinder school – got to find out what happened.”Advertisementcenter_img G.W. Carlson in Fort Nelson matched the Baldonnel score at 7.6 and Tumbler Ridge Elementary and Frank Ross in Dawson Creek both moved into the above average category, improving to 6.5 and 6.2, respectively.However, it should be noted again that this study is annually the subject of wide-spread criticism led by the B.C. Teacher’s Federation, a position Cowley calls “silly and self-serving.”“We’ve heard the criticism that there’s no point in ranking the schools or showing differences between individual schools because all the schools have excellent staff – they do a terrific job, and so any differences at all between the schools, the teachers union will say it’s not because of our members,” explains Cowley. “Well they won’t say what it is, but you have to infer what they’re talking about. If it’s not us, it must be something else that’s causing low performance in the low performing schools.”“That’s either the families or the kids themselves, which I think; it’s an awful thing to say.”“How do you improve?” asks Cowley. “That’s the question, because often times the teachers union is afraid of what it will do to the morale of low performing schools if they get a poor rating from the Fraser Institute.”Advertisementlast_img read more