The first and newly appointed president of the Harbel Community College (HARCO) last week warned the many would be instructors of the college to search and adequately prepare themselves well before choosing to teach at the college.
Dr. Syrulwa Somah gave the warning during a program marking the formal opening of the college in Harbel, Lower Margibi County. He instructed each of the future lecturers at the college to publish academic materials in their various areas of specializations “for people to read and learn from for life.”
According to Somah, a first degree holder is not qualified to teach someone who is also seeking for the same degree. “This,” he noted, “is one of the critical challenges facing the country’s already messy education system.’’
“All the instructors at this college must be master’s degree holders, even if any of you is to teach at the lowest level in a particular discipline,’’ said Somah.
What good will educated professors be if they cannot help anyone improve his/her life through their academic instructions.
Dr. Somah observed that universities, colleges and grade schools are not doing what they are expected to do in terms of improvement in curriculum.
He therefore called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to take him for his word that he will not relent by doing the right thing to make the Harbel College first among all the other community colleges in the country.
“Anything to the contrary of my solemn pledge, let the President punish me,” Dr. Somah declared.
He, however, called on the students not to let anyone or life threatening challenges to lower their aspirations.
Dr. Somah also admonished the students to do away with the old Liberian ways of doing things, which have eventually led the downward spiralling of the country’s education system.
According to him, the old ways of doing things weaken the judgment of people, who contribute to the delaying of progress in Liberia.
“Liberia,” he said, “can be compared positively to any other country in the world, if only the mindset that Liberians do not change for good is done away with.’’
He said he, along with his colleagues, will always see themselves as “a force of distinctiveness in propelling the plane of quality and excellence” at the college.
Dr. Somah named subjects such as Agriculture, Liberian Studies, Women Studies, Information Technology, Climate Change Studies and Defence Studies, etc. as subjects the college will offer.
He meanwhile commended President Sirleaf for his preferment to the post and assured her and the people of Margibi that he and his colleagues will provide remarkable results.
HARCO runs on the motto, “The Rising Sun of Hope,” for which Dr. Somah promised that he and his teaching staff will “go all-out” to raise the institute to the expectations of those they will serve.
For her part, Deputy Education Minister for Instruction Dr. Romell A. Horton highlighted quality and excellence as elements that are uniquely related and inseparable in the education sector.
According to Dr. Horton, for excellence and quality to come out of students, the authority must equip the teachers materially and mentally.
She said that the quality of education cannot exceed the quality of the teacher, who offers his/her acquired education to student.
“The teacher,” she said, “should be equalled to the standards of their own learning; for this guarantees real quality as service to students.”
She observed that the country’s education is in serious need for rehabilitation; therefore, she called on the incoming students and the faculty staff to be the change they want to see.
“Be masters of change, not victims,” adding that the student should learn how to manage the affairs of HARCO amidst the many academic challenges.
According to Dr. Horton, quality education is the foundation for democratic development.
To realize collective and individual successes at HARCO, Dr. Horton promised the MOE’s support and guidance to the college at all times.
To the dismay of everyone who attended the ceremony, Ballah G. Zayzay was the only member of the Margibi Legislative Caucus present.
Zayzay represents Margibi Electoral District #2 at the National Legislature. It is in his District that the college is located.
The Margibi Lawmaker expressed his gratitude to those who crafted the idea that gave birth to the college.