Graham-Royal, who became principal of the institution in 2014, said fixing the pool will be her next ‘big’ project and said she does not intend to begin the project until she is sure she has all the money to complete it as she does not want to start and not be able to finish. “(I need) at least three quarters of it because it wouldn’t make sense; it means work would have stopped,” she told The Gleaner. Students of the school, who train to be teachers of physical education, must now use a tiny pool in Old Harbour for swimming lessons. “So I have to pay more than $10,000 monthly for them to learn to swim. You’re not a complete PE teacher until you’re able to swim,” Graham-Royal, herself a graduate of the G.C. Foster College, who later studied abroad, said. “When I went to the University of Mainz in Germany to study, I could not graduate until I learned to swim,” she added. Meanwhile, Graham-Royal also noted that the institution as also losing money as there were some interested parties who would have used the facility had it been operational. “Just this morning some students from a university in Canada called. They had a contingent of 50 and wanted to come for the summer,” she said. “So we are missing all of that. We really do need some private sector injection. We can’t do it otherwise,” she concluded. GETTING THE MONEY The state of the swimming pool at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport has been a sore point for decades. Current principal of the institution, Dr Joyce Graham-Royal, said it will cost $91 million to repair the facility, which has never been used since it was built in 1980. In late 2014, Minister of Sport Natalie Neita-Headley had announced that Government would be donating the funds to repair the pool via the Sports Development Foundation. However, Graham-Royal told The Gleaner yesterday that she had since learned that the funds, which had been earmarked for the pool work, had been spent on refurbishing the synthetic track at the institution, which was reopened last October. The track cost $171 million to repair. Graham-Royal said because of the clay soil at the Spanish Town-based sporting college, repairing the track had cost much more than the projected figure. Successive principals over the last few years have threshed around with the idea and as recently as 2008, the estimate to repair the Olympic-sized swimming and diving pools was at $50 million.
Two instructors of the Confucius Institute (CI) have expressed their excitement over the achievements of Liberians undergoing Chinese Language and cultural learning in Monrovia and at the University of Liberia.“Chinese Language is altogether different and difficult. To get the students to understand, I design various activities to add to the students’ interest. By that, they are taking in the lesson,” Xiong Yuxian, one of the instructors said.Xiong said “Liberians are so talented and quick to take in, and just the few times spent with them have resulted in many of them reciting poems in Chinese, singing and dancing Chinese songs, and perform other cultural activities the instructors have taught them.”The CI is exclusively based at the University of Liberia and is engaged in teaching Chinese Language and Culture through which many students have proven their abilities in the lessons. Through their achievements some of the students have travelled to China and interacted with the Chinese through cultural exchange programs.The institute also provides lessons for other interested people who are not attending the UL. CI is also conducting a class for officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and the Liberia National Police. The reason is to get those officers acquainted with the language since they are often assigned at the various ports of entry through which Chinese and other nationals enter the country.Xiong said both university and non university students were learning at the same pace in understanding the Chinese language and cultural activities.She added that from calls they received during their program on the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), many more people continue to express interest in learning the language.Xiong, in line with her colleague Tang Xaowei said learning the language is important for building a bridge for China-Liberia relations, adding that the most important thing is for both countries to harmoniously coexist to seek their citizens’ welfare.In separate statements, Xiong and her colleague noted that members of the Chinese Cultural Troupe that visited Monrovia about a month ago were astonished by what they saw their Liberian counterparts doing.According to the instructors, the two groups mingled, ate and performed the rest of the activities together, beyond the expectations of the Chinese Cultural Troupe.Giving highlights of her work, Xiong said they are basically involved in teaching Chinese Language and Culture, and teach over a hundred students from diverse backgrounds.The lesson is taught at levels ranging from 1 to 4, and those who complete are awarded certificates of achievement.Xiong Yuxian was born in 1992 and came to Liberia in July 2015 as a volunteer teacher to teach Chinese at the Confucius Institute.Before coming to Liberia, she was doing her master’s degree program at the Changsha University of Science & Technology in Central China.She has been a volunteer teacher in China for years, teaching in some poor mountainous schools.For Tang Xiaowei when she heard information about the volunteer teacher program she quickly applied to be a guest lecturer.She was among the lucky ones selected for the work that entered Liberia on July 14, 2015.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)