MONROVIA-The Director-General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) Madam Emma M. Glassco has encouraged aspiring undergraduates of the University of Liberia to become pioneers of new and existing fields in their educational sojourn as part of efforts to grow and develop the economy of Liberia.
Madam Glassco opined that some educational studies may not be locally available because it is a known fact that Liberia’s academic institutions present limited career options and that obtaining academic qualifications in traditional specializations are viewed as a hallmark of success.
However, she indicated that bearing in mind Liberia’s economic status, and also recognizing the richness in our biodiversity and natural resources, there is no telling that it presents enormous opportunities to explore diverse career paths, adding, “I therefore urge you to pioneer new fields of studies.”
The NaFAA Boss was speaking Tuesday, when she delivered the keynote address at the 103rd Graduation Convocation of the University of Liberia for graduates of the College of Agriculture and Forestry, College of Science and Technology, and the Engineering College.
“Only recently, after Liberia had discovered the possibility of oil exploration and possible exploitation that the young people became motivated to take on career paths in oil and gas management and engineering. Here we are again with the same enthusiasm to explore career opportunities in the fishing sector,” Madam Glassco pointed out.
Madam Glassco observed the lack of new academic careers has been a systemic problem in Liberia, even with existing budgetary constraints; Liberia is always in the business of importing international experts to fill in its human resource gaps, something that continues to cost the country millions of dollars.
“The big question to our academic institutions is; why must we wait for the discovery of a new sector before preparing professionals? Are there not researchers in these institutions making new discoveries to lead the way?” the NaFAA executive asked.
She added: “We must not limit our skills development to our skills demand but rather develop a variety of skills that can be marketable to the region and the world at large.”
Madam Glassco believed that diversification in Liberia’s academic programs is a step forward in creating a prepared nation for the future. This, she said, serves as a national call to action for all educational stakeholders including the government, to increase its investments in the education sector which is practically the only way towards elevating Liberia’s economic status.
“I am also challenging academic institutions to create additional programs other than the conventional ones such as medicine, law, accounting, public administration, sociology, etc.,” Madam Glassco proposed.
Among other things, the NaFAA Boss noted that Liberia must also improve skills development in order to tap into emerging industries such as the multi-billion dollar Seaweed industry of which Liberia is a natural habitat.
She explained that Seaweed, which is commonly seen as dirt along beaches when it is pushed out by the ocean tides is currently valued at 17.85 billion United States Dollars and can be used as vegetables, animal feeds, fertilizers, cosmetics, and industrial gums, among others,” adding, “Indonesia for example is a leading exporter in this industry followed by America and China.
Meanwhile, the NaFAA Boss has underscored the need for Liberia to build a society of creativity and innovation by using its available resources so that the country can be more independent and self-sufficient towards becoming an export-based economy instead of an import one.