Liberia: UL Prepares 100 Students in Pre-med, Clinical Studies
The University of Liberia (UL) College of Health Sciences (ULCHS), in collaboration with the United States-based partner university, Yale, is currently preparing about a hundred young Liberians in science education from the fifteen counties of Liberia.
There are 51 girls and 49 boys among those who are enrolled in the four weeks of rigorous studies.
The training, which is being supported through its USAID-funded program known as Camp xSEL (Excellence in Science Education for Liberia), is geared towards equipping students who are desirous of venturing into pre-medical and pre-clinical studies at the UL.
Camp xSEL is a project under the auspices of USAID Bringing Research to Impact for Development and Global Engagement-Utilization (BRIDGE–U: Liberia) that brings together students from 11th grade and 12th grade.
Some of the students, who spoke to reporters during a visit to the camp at the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary (LBTS) in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, lauded the UL administration and partners for the program, which will help them to accomplish their dreams in the sciences.
According to student Josephine Z. Akoi of the Voinjama Multilateral High School in Lofa County, the camp has provided knowledge that will make them better citizens for Liberia’s future.
Akoi said, "I am a science student and I want to be a medical doctor, so this camp has given me a better understanding of the career that I want to pursue. It gives me the opportunity to fulfill my dream. The teaching is interactive—this has actually been a great knowledge-sharing venture. The learning here is participatory. We are getting the knowledge that will make us better for tomorrow's future. "
Olacee M. Glassco, a student at Gorblee Central High School in Grand Bassa County, believes that the program's introduction by UL is a great encouragement for high school students who want to pursue a career in the sciences.
"The process has been great; very good for me and my friends who are interested in the areas of science. I want to become a civil engineer and I am very proud to have been selected to be a member of this camp, "Olacee asserted."
Christian J. Lamah of St. Martin’s High School in Nimba County described the learning process at Camp xSEL as motivational.
"The education here is different and it is motivational. It brings out our ability to learn more. The counselors are great. A daily basis, they open our minds to new things about our ambitions, "he stated.
Ibrahim A. Balde of Monrovia College and Industrial High School in Monrovia indicated that the camp has provided him with better knowledge of his dream career which is electrical engineering.
In her remarks, Chelsea Plyler, Project Director of BRIDGE-U: Liberia, disclosed that a total of 100 students were recruited for the second batch from all 15 counties.
“Last year was the pilot year for this program, and so the recruitment was done just within Montserrado County. But this year we went into counties and worked with the Ministry of Education through the Districts and Counties’ Education Officers, "noted Madam Plyler.
According to her, since the establishment of the 2022 camp, the students have been doing rigorous academic work while having fun at the same time.
“They have had a critical thinking lab and many other activities. The overall goal is to bring creativity to the learning process. The program is designed to enable students to fulfill their dreams in the health sciences. It actually came as a result of the curriculum reform at the UL College of Health Sciences. We thought that this program was in line with the reform and, as such, there was a need to reduce the number of years of stay (nine years) after graduation from high school to just seven years. "We think nine years is unusual in other parts of the world," she said.
"One of the main concerns was to give the children a foundation for a medical school pathway, so we created this extra curriculum program to prepare them with the hope that there will be ripple effects on the learning process," the BRIDGE U: Liberia project head explained.
Meanwhile, Dr. Julius S. Nelson, President of the UL, urged students to explore the possibilities of becoming better people irrespective of their status in society.
“Life is not about where you were born or the family unit you were born into. It is about how you can explore possibilities for a prosperous future for Liberia. This University, which is the microcosm of the larger Liberian society, gives you the best possibilities of a brighter future for Liberia,” said Dr. Nelson.
He expressed his hope that the journey would help students develop an appetite for the UL.
Nelson added, “You must help change the story of the UL to be more positive for the rebuilding process of this country.”