“Community Colleges’ Success Depends on Land,” says BCCC President Norman
The community college revolution initiated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to ensure that Liberians in the leeward counties get access to higher education cannot be successful without the support of the communities in which the colleges are located, Dr. Zobong Norman, president of the Bomi County Community College (BCCC) said on Friday. Speaking at the BCCC campus in Tubmanburg, where elders and paramount chiefs of Senjeh District delivered a certificate offering 202.8 acres of public farm land to the school for agricultural purposes, Dr. Norman said President Sirleaf’s dream to offer quality education to Liberians outside Monrovia must be applauded.
“In the past, Liberians did not have access to higher education and those who wanted to obtain higher education had to come to Monrovia, with its attendant difficulties. Today, a child from Gbarpolu, Cape Mount and Bomi can come to Bomi College; and it’s like that in a number of other colleges in other counties and I think this is an idea that no matter the criticism leveled on the president, the community college idea is a positive venture… a positive good for our country,” he said. “If we are not grateful for anything President Sirleaf has done, we must be grateful for our children’s access to higher education in their own communities.”
Dr. Norman told the gathering of chiefs, elders and student groups that “If someone washes your back-side, you must wash your stomach; and therefore, we see the provision of over 200 acres of land from the elders and chiefs of Senjeh District as a value addition to grow our college.” He admitted that the Liberian government’s budgetary allocation to community colleges “is not enough and so if we depend on the government alone, we will not reach where we want to go.”
Dr. Norman noted that providing higher degrees to students’ calls for dormitories and housing units and attractive salaries to attract professors. He called on community leaders to embrace the community college revolution to provide maximum benefits for their children. He, meanwhile, commended the chiefs, elders and Bomi County Superintendent Samuel Brown for their involvement and cooperation on the donation.
Signatories to the land certificate, apart from the commissioner of the Ministry of Lands & Mines, were Armah Golee, Clan Chief of Manoah Clan, and Paramount Chief Muinama Jah. The chiefs expressed satisfaction with the level of awareness Dr. Norman and his administration have brought to Bomi County, and promised additional public lands if the administration uses the 200.8 acres for the intended purpose. Meanwhile, Elder J. B. S. Lawson drew murmurs when he commented on the importance of education and wondered if it was possible for the Liberian government to arrest and detain Gola youths who are wasting their lives in the county and refusing to go to school. Speaking through an interpreter, a regrettable Lawson said: “Gola people’s failure to make education a priority is because of poverty and the lack of awareness on the importance of education.”
It may be recalled that both Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe and Finance Minister Boima Kamara, during the college’s recent convocation exercises, promised to donate 1,000 palm seedlings each to BCCC to begin the cultivation of the 200 acres farmland, for which Dr. Norman said he “will continue to praise them because they are good to our college.”