MONROVIA: The Country Representative and Chief of the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, (OHCHR), in Liberia, Christian Mukosa, has recognized with much admiration the exceptional academic performance of female students of the New Hope Academy (NHA) on Peace Island, Jacob Town, in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
Appraising the 15 classes operating in the school (from kindergarten to 12th Grade) for the Academic Year 2022/2023), the UN Human Rights Representative in Liberia expressed delight that ten of the top-performing students were females.
Serving as a Keynote Speaker at a Souvenir Program marking the 21st Commencement Exercises of the 12th Grade Class of New Hope Academy, (NHA), on Saturday, September 23, 2023, the UN envoy particularly lauded the school administration that along with the national educational curriculum, introduced an innovative program that places premium on girls’ education, retention in school, leadership, and issues of their sexual reproductive health rights.
He further appreciated the School Administration which stressed that as a result of these interventions, New Hope Academy (NHA) has witnessed increase in girls’ enrolment over boys.
According to latest statistics of the school for 2017/2018, out of 409 students, there were 244 girls and 165 boys; in 2018/2019, there were 200 girls and 150 boys, totaling 350 students; and in 2020/2021, there were 151 girls and 125 boys, accumulating to 276 students.
Additionally, the school disclosed that due to said program which seeks to accelerate girls’ education, female students are demonstrating better academic performance than boys with girls being the dux of the School for the past five consecutive years.
In his keynote address delivered in the auditorium of the NHA, Mr. Mukosa stressed that although education is a right and not a privilege, everyone, with support of the government, must first strive to acquire basic education in order to claim such basic human right.
He emphasized that education should be accessible to all Liberians including boys and girls as well as the physically challenged among others who want to acquire professional, vocational and technical learning skills.
He stressed that education is a human right but for anyone to know his or her basic or fundamental rights, such person must be educated.
“Human right means the role you as a human being can play in your community in protecting, promoting and respecting human laws. So, we all have obligation to ensure the full protection of, and adhering to human rights, human values and human right laws,” he told the graduates.
The UN official recommended that in addition to extra curriculum activities, peace and human rights clubs should be established in various schools across the country wherein students would meet regularly to discuss human rights and related issues.
He highlighted the importance of discussing human right issues in elementary and secondary schools.
Mr. Mukosa stressed that it is the responsibility of the Liberian government to ensure that schools are operated in various communities across the country.
According to Mukosa who is also former Senior Human Rights Advisor to the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the United Nations Team in the Republic of Sierra Leone, although the Liberian government has the cardinal responsibility to set up schools and other learning institutions in the country, leaders of local communities and other stakeholders must take the necessary initiatives to improve the socioeconomic conditions of Liberians.
The OHCHR Boss also called on the central government to provide much-needed support for educational and capacity building initiatives by community leaders and other stakeholders in the best interest of the country.
In her Valedictory Address, Masue A. Kromah, who is also President of the Student Council of NHA underscored the importance of education and encouraged her fellow graduates not to be satisfied with the attainment of high school diplomas.
While thanking the school administration, teaching staffs and parents for their respective support for their students who are now leaving the walls of high school, she encouraged her fellow graduates to strive for higher learning opportunities.
She stressed that this will enable the graduates to effectively contribute to the development of the country and the larger society.
Similarly, Lorpu Stevens, in her Salutatorian Address, applauded the parents of the graduates for support to their children’s education and encouraged the parents to remain committed to this cause, which she described as noble.
The top three Dux included Kindness Gono, 2nd Grade, 97.2 %; Decontee Sokolo, K-1, 92.6%; Matee Kromah, 92.2%.
According to report, this academic year, records the fiercest academic contest ever for the Valedictorian crown of the 12th Grade Class, where two female students- Lorpu Stevens and Masue Kromah competed neck-to-neck throughout the academic year.
Finally, the academic year concluded with Masue Kromah emerging as Valedictorian with an average of 82.7%; closely followed by Lorpu Stevens with an average of 82.6%.
Making remarks at the graduation ceremony, the Founder and President of the Better Future Foundation (BFF), Augustine Arkoi, reiterated that Girls’ Education, Retention in school, Leadership, and Issues of their Sexual Reproductive Health Rights are at the core of BFF’s programs and services being provided at the New Hope Academy.
Rev. Arkoi pointed out that BFF, which is dedicated to the postwar reconstruction and development of Liberia has been working in partnership and collaboration with Girls of Distinction (GOD), that offers Certificate Course in Special Skills Development for Girls, Leadership Development, Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Reproductive Health, Climate Change, and Environment, Human Rights, Peace and Security.
Rev. Arkoi asserted that as a result of these interventions, the school has witnessed increase in girls’ enrolment over the boys in recent years.