A modern science laboratory, costing approximately US$70K, has been inaugurated at the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata, Margibi County.
The facility was unveiled on Tuesday by the United States Agency for International Development Food and Enterprise Development (USAID-FED) in collaboration with the Government of Liberia.
The science laboratory, which is equipped with USAID-FED procured microscopes, beakers, conical flasks, tripods, burettes and other devices is meant to enhance agriculture education at BWI under the National Diploma in Agriculture (NDA) program.
The NDA, a 2-year market driven agricultural program, will prepare high school graduates for employment opportunities in Liberia’s agriculture sector.
The NDA program has been established in four community colleges namely Nimba Community College (NCCC), Lofa County Community College, Grand Bassa Community College and BWI.
USAID-FED’s Chief of Party, Mrs. Agnes Luz said the science lab is a great milestone in promoting agriculture education at BWI because the facility will afford students the practical learning in soil, animal and plant samples testing.
Mrs. Luz said local farmers in the community would also have access to soil testing in order to improve their produce.
She said, “To meet the need for quality agriculture education in the country, my organization has established the Centers of Excellence (CoE) in partnership with the Ministry of Education at four community colleges to boost agriculture.”
She encouraged students to take advantage of the NDA program, as it would eventually attract employment opportunities in the agriculture sector.
Madam Luz reaffirmed commitment to supporting Liberia’s agriculture sector, and promised to empower the youth to boost food production in the country.
USAID Deputy Mission Director, Madam Barbara Dickerson said the US Government, through USAID FED, is making major investments in building the capacity of BWI and the three other community colleges through the creation of Centers of Excellence (CoE) at each institution, equipped with a soil science lab as well as computer lab with internet connectivity.
Ms. Dickerson further said the CoEs would also provide for the training of instructors and the development of syllables and lesson plans to be used in the NDA. She added that the United States is committed to working with the Ministries of Education and Youth and Sports and the Government of Liberia towards achieving the objectives of the GOL’s technical vocational education and training programs for Liberian youth in support of Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation.
BWI provided the building to house the facility, while USAID FED funded the renovation of the building, purchasing and installation of the equipment. USAID FED trained lab technicians to provide quality services for the students. The fully equipped science lab will strengthen the Center of Excellence’s (CoE’s) capacity to provide quality education to generate the skilled workforce needed for the growth of the agriculture sector in Liberia.
In addition to BWI, the NDA will be offered at the Nimba, Bassa and Lofa community colleges. Soil Science Labs, similar to the BWI Lab, have also been established at each of the three community colleges.
Representing the Government of Liberia, the Assistant Minister for Technical and Vocational Education at the Ministry of Education (TVET), Mr. Sekou Dukuly, thanked USAID through its Food and Enterprise Development Program (FED) for helping the
Government of Liberia achieve yet another milestone in its quest to provide a sound agriculture training program for young people.
He said as the Ministry strives to improve the education system, programs such as the National Diploma in Agriculture will be critical to helping the Ministry to achieve its goal of providing first rate vocational and technical training for Liberian youths.