The Presiding Bishop of the Harvest Intercontinental Ministries Unlimited, Dr. Darlingston G. Johnson says the Harvest Intercontinental American University (HIAU) is poised to begin full educational operations in Liberia beginning October 2022 and is being established in Liberia to help reduce poverty in Liberia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Accordingly, the American incorporated university will run both e-learning and in-person or campus based programs and some lecturers will teach from the United States and other parts of the world.
Dr. Johnson said students will take most of their classes online, listen to lectures, and participate in courses taught by highly qualified professors living in Liberia and the United States.
Dr. Johnson said everyone agrees that one of Liberia’s significant challenges is limited access to quality education at all levels and that challenge poses one of the greatest threats to the future of Liberia as a nation and the most significant contributor to the growing socio-economic problems the country faces every day.
According to him, although the university is yet to kick-start the arrangements of establishing a university with the Liberia Commission on Higher Education (LCHE), he remains optimistic about achieving it.
Dr. Johnson said the mission of HIAU, incorporated in the United States of America, is to help bridge the enormous educational gap between what is and what ought to be, between what exists and what is needed in education in underdeveloped parts of the world.
“The high poverty level our country continues to experience year after year, along with its associated maladies — an almost non-existent healthcare system that is resulting in untold suffering and very many unnecessary deaths yearly, an increased and ever-growing crime rate as people who cannot support themselves turn to devious and unlawful means to obtain the things they need to survive, escalating public corruption, deplorable living conditions, just to name a few, are directly related to the very inadequate access to quality education our nation is experiencing,” Dr. Johnson said.
The university, which will focus on key areas, including the sciences, technology, liberal arts, and business administration, will bring professional educators to impart knowledge into students, Dr. Johnson has said.
However, with regard to the tuition and associated costs the university authority said the details will subsequently be released. Many students are unable to enroll in private universities operating in Liberia due to their inability to afford tuition which currently stands at US$17 to US$20 per credit hour for undergraduate students.
Dr. Johnson said HIAU imagines a world where no one lives or dies without access to quality education and the good news is that they have decided to begin serious operations in Liberia.
HIAU is organized as a Non-profit 501(c3) Corporation, with international headquarters located at 16227 Batchellors Forest Rd, Olney, Maryland 20832 and expects to expand rapidly throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to him, HIAU will solicit funding through grants, donor institutions, charitable donations from philanthropic institutions, and individuals desiring to help make an impact in higher education in this part of the world. Additional revenue will come from fees charged to students to help cover the cost of operating the institution.
Dr. Johnson said the University is being organized for the sole purpose of providing access to quality tertiary academic and vocational education to students living in underdeveloped nations.
According to him, it will empower this generation to produce leaders for future generations, while also focusing on the development of the whole person—spirit, soul, and body.
"Our goal will be to graduate students who are academically qualified to secure the best jobs available, but more importantly, who are trained and infused with an entrepreneurial spirit that will empower them to be able to start their businesses and become job-creators, employers offering jobs to others within their chosen fields," Dr. Johnson indicated.
He maintains that one of HIAU's non-negotiable values is a commitment to excellence, stating "for this reason, HIAU has already begun the process of becoming an American accredited degree-granting institution."
"We are committed to securing this accreditation in the U.S. because it will demand excellence from us. It will help ensure that our standards are high, our professors are qualified, our teacher-student ratios are low, and our degrees are recognized worldwide. In addition to a U.S. accreditation, we will seek to meet, comply with, and exceed all requirements of the laws and standards that govern institutions of higher learning in Liberia" Dr. Johnson said.
Dr. Johnson said if they are to fulfill this vision of a world, or a Liberia, where no one lives or dies without access to quality education, “we will need to take full advantage of emerging technologies that will permit students here to have access to professors and courses, regardless of where those students live and those courses are offered.”
He said they are aware of the challenges of depending on the Liberian environment to facilitate our e-learning strategy. That is why HIAU is partnering with Oral Roberts University, which is one of the highest ranking universities in the US, as an academic and technological resource to implement its vision.
Dr. Kona-Facia Mepay, chairperson of the HIAU founding team, said this has been a long time goal of the Bishop to provide education for those who otherwise may not have it. She describes the establishment of the HIAU as a life-changing project for Liberia and strongly believes that it will positively impact the lives of many people.
Dr. Prof. Marjorie Adams of Morgan State University said the Harvest Intercontinental Ministries Unlimited is unique and its mission to develop and achieve goals must be welcome. She urges everyone to support this HIAU mission so that excellent education is not just for the privileged few.
She said part of the HIAU is to provide quality education to persons across the globe which is of paramount importance and will empower the current and future generations with skills, talents and insight to lead the world.
Dr. M. Wolo Belleh, Bishop of the 1st Diocese, Harvest Intercontinental Ministries Unlimited, said he was grateful to God that the university was launched in Liberia. According to him, this dream will produce quality leaders and entrepreneurs for the future of the church and of the nation.