UL Agriculture College Eyeing Curriculum Reform

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Dr. Moses Zinnah, the new Dean of the UL's Agriculture and Forestry College

Many research institutions and universities are bringing forth new ideologies and restructuring their agriculture curriculum to ensure that agricultural activities continue be successful in the midst of the impact of climate change and other factors threatening farming and other aspects of human life.

In Liberia, the William R. Tolbert, Jr. Agriculture and Forestry College of the University of Liberia is one of the five colleges (Stella Maris Polytechnic, United Methodist University, AME Zion and the Cuttington University) in the country whose adaptation to modern agriculture curriculum has been moving at a snail’s pace since the civil crisis ended in Liberia.

To date the WRT. Agriculture and Forestry college has more than 2000 students studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry, Agronomy, and General Agriculture. However, large classes, limited practical equipment, part time lecturers, limited resource centers, outdated textbooks and laboratory equipment pose serious challenges to learning agriculture in the modern day context at the college.

Graduates of the college, even some that are now lecturers, but preferred not to be named, admitted to the need to revise the curriculum so that the college can match-up to the changes in modern agriculture education.

The college adequately caters to traditional agriculture courses that include Crop Science, Soil Science, Animal Science, Agriculture Economics, Agriculture Engineering, but the new sub-fields of study in agriculture that are responsive to the dynamic changes in the sector are yet to be taught at the college.  These courses include Agriculture Economics and Risk Management, Agribusiness Management, Aquaculture and Fisheries, and Family and Consumer Science.

Despite these challenges, the new Dean of the college and former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Moses Zinnah, believes that the college can regain its status prior to the country’s civil crisis. In a recent exclusive interview with this newspaper at the University of Liberia’s Fendall Campus, Dr.Zinnah reaffirmed the need for curriculum reform at the college. He said the reforms would help the college respond to the dynamic changes in the country’s agriculture sector.

“We don’t need to discard the entire curriculum but it is time that we review, revise, and modify the curriculum with a holistic approach to make the college more responsive to the changing needs of the agriculture workforce and emerging jobs in the sector,” explained Dr. Zinnah

The new Dean said the college under his leadership will network with other agriculture universities that he has worked with to help modify the current curriculum.

“We can network with colleges and adapt what they are doing that we have not been doing, but ideas that we will borrow will be fitted into the Liberian context, and this would be our comparative advantage” said Dr. Zinnah

He noted further that the college will soon embark on its strategic planning to address and serve as an operational road map to respond to the college’s infrastructure and human capacity challenges.

Author

  • George Harris is one of the handful journalists passionately covering agricultural issues including fisheries in Liberia. He has been sharing agricultural and related stories with our company since 2016. George Harris holds a diploma in Journalism and a bachelor's degree in agricultural science.

1 COMMENT

  1. It is good Dr. Zinnah, having served as minister of agriculture now has the opportunity, once again, to direct the course of agriculture in Liberia, via the LU and gleaning from that vantage point. Furthermore, Dr. Zinnah has his degree in Agricultural Extension Education, meaning he ought to have as fundamental a pretty good working knowledge of what is needed and missing in agriculture in Liberia, in general. He didn’t have to go anywhere to know this, as much as such information could serve as an added advantage. This is one huge area of dismay we have observed/experienced with Liberian technocrats in recent years. They come with impressive resumes claiming they are the answers to our myriad of bureaucratic problems. Given the opportunity to show their juice, things have always remained the same, regrettably. The one iconic and monumental example in regards to making a difference in our national life we always remind others of, is that of our late dynamic and illustrious former president, WRT. When president Tolbert took over the helm of the republic in 1971, following the death of WVS Tubman, You would think the man just returned from grad school and based in the progressive and developmental ideas he introduced to catapult Liberia’s forward movement. Firstly from synchronizing “Liberian Standard Time-LST” with “Greenish Mean Time-GMT to correspond with not only the region or continent but the global reality, to his various self-enhancing and motivating catchphrases like “Total involvement for higher heights; from mat to mattress; farm to market roads; precious jewels” (youth pop.); to the construction of feeder roads, schools, clinics, hospitals across the length and breadth of the country, WRT was just a visionary. That was change! That was dynamism! That was leadership! Plain and simple. Whenever I hear people utter the phrase, “no more business as usual,” WRT’s examples come to mind right away. So congratulations again, Dr. Zinnah, and hoping you will now exemplify some of that Tolbert-type dynamism in your new post, all the best.

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