The Executive Board of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity-building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), will host its meetings in Monrovia bringing together 25 ranked African university presidents, Liberian business people and farmers, University of Liberia (UL) President, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, has said.
RUFORUM Executive Board meetings will bring together about 17 Presidents/Vice-Chancellors, Principals and Deans, from highly ranked African universities that are offering academic programs in agriculture, engineering, science and technology.
The delegates will come from Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.
“This year’s meetings in Liberia will allow presidents of various universities in Liberia to discuss on mutual benefits, as many of the universities are much more resourceful in facilities and progress. This will give our people the opportunities to network with other universities in various areas of focus during the meetings,” Dr. Weeks said.
She made the disclosure on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at a news conference in Monrovia.
Dr. Weeks said that the meetings will host highly ranked African universities that are offering programs in agriculture, science, engineering and technology.
The meeting, which is hosted by the UL Administration in collaboration with authorities at the ministries of Education and Agriculture, is the 18th Executive Board gathering. The RUFORUM forum will be combined with national symposium on higher education.
Dr. Weeks said Liberia was fortunate in 2018 when it received eight slots for UL’s faculty members to do their PhD in agriculture in East Africa, adding, “there are more opportunities for being a member of the organization.”
She said the organization has decided to transition from just agriculture to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
According to Dr. Weeks, the program will give Liberia and the UL Administration more PhDs who will, in return, help to offer master degrees in agriculture, engineering, while saving the money used to send people out for foreign studies.
She said that government cannot do all, therefore, it was necessary to partner with the private sector and individuals with potential to bring change to the country’s education system.
Dr. Weeks currently serves the deputy board chair for the meeting. She said Liberia is delighted to host this year’s meeting, which allows business people and presidents of Liberia’s universities to seek outside opportunities.
“We have also invited private businesses to bring samples of their products to serve as networking opportunities. This will also expose our universities presidents to the works of their colleagues from universities in different countries,” she said.
Dr. Moses Zinnah, Dean of the UL Agriculture College, said this year’s engagement provides special opportunities for presidents of Liberia’s universities to host a one-day forum, which will take place on April 26 to discuss the way forward in improving higher education.
“If we miss this component, it will be difficult for Liberia to complete regionally and globally, because this will provide opportunities for universities presidents, farmers and business people to network and begin thinking critically to improve higher education,” Dr. Zinnah said.