MONROVIA – The Swedish Institute Alumni Network of Liberia (SIANL) has been challenged to incorporate inclusive education in its series of advocacy for democratic governance and human rights values in Liberia.
The network, during its second General Assembly (GA), held online over the weekend, was encouraged to engage in active dialogues that bring citizens and policymakers to the table to discuss ways forward on making education more inclusive in Liberia.
Serving as keynote speaker, Elisha Bloe, a Liberian SI Scholar currently studying Humanitarian Action and Conflict at Uppsala University in Sweden, stressed that inclusive education is an educational concept in which everybody is given equal opportunity to attain education irrespective of their beliefs, conditions, and status.
Bloe, a Liberian civil society actor and advocate, alarmed that much attention needs to be given especially to citizens with disabilities to enable them to meet their full potential to positively contribute to national development rather than being a liability in society.
“If you consider the philosophical foundation of Education, it says education is the vehicle that shapes the mentality and shifts the direction of society. So, the more we exclude a certain group of people for whatever reason, from education in the larger society, we exclude them from basic social services and opportunities to contribute the nation building,” Bloe said.
The Liberian Scholar stated that when marginalized groups are excluded from attaining education, they get excluded from benefiting from public utilities and from enjoying their full rights.
He, therefore, urged SIANL’s members to individually and collectively “ensure that we contribute to making education more inclusive for the betterment of society.”
The GA, held annually, brings together all SIANL members at home and abroad to discuss the progress, challenges, and prospects of the organization that is hungry to serve humanity in Liberia. It seeks to strengthen the collaboration among network members, boost the Swedish-Liberian partnership and values, and evoke actions among scholars to give back to Liberia.
Ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections, the Dec 17, 2022 GA adopted civic education program as its flagship activity.
“The Network will continue to roll out its first-time voter’s symposium launched in December in addition to advocacy for inclusive education as well as access to information by women and underprivileged groups,” SIANL’s President Sam Samie Sumo noted.
The GA adopted the network’s communication policy, financial policy, and community engagement strategy. These policies will be used to host mentorship sessions for scholarship applications to Swedish universities (University Admissions, to host an inspiration day program for scholarship recipients, and to continue to strengthen the network’s partnership with the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia and the Swedish Institute in Stockholm.
The SAINL is a registered professional non-governmental and non-political organization comprising Liberians who benefited from the Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals (SISGP), studied at various Swedish universities, and reside in and out of Liberia.