The education nightmare of our country leaves a lot of people with uncertainty as to how capable learning institutions are to teach the right lessons that will equip students to perform better. In post-conflict Liberia where everything is done under the principle of “As usual,” no serious student with the desire to learn properly can have much hope entering any institution as malpractices including grades for sale, sex for grades, administrative manipulations, favoritism and other social vices continue to overwhelm that education system.
Liberia’s education system is one that officials of the supervising ministry (Ministry of Education) and the Commission on Higher Education are not even conscious of closely monitoring schools as every employee therein operates under the ‘X Theory’ concept of Douglas McGregor. Theory X comprises eye service workers who do not take responsibility in the absence of a boss. They are lazy, and because they are, they need close supervision and pressure.
In spite of the overwhelming academic malpractices clouding Liberia’s education system thus resulting into poor outputs in many quarters, it still remains unimaginably clear that there are some individuals who do not easily subscribe to this demoralizing philosophy introduced by unscrupulous people.
A great example of such principles-minded people are the instructors teaching in the Mass Communication Department of the University of Liberia.
Any freshman student turning his/her back on careers in Science and Mathematics to succeed quickly in Mass Communication at UL faces serious disappointment upon meeting the instructors there. Although the instructors are from different backgrounds converging, these are people with similar principles that call for eschewing any act that will give a student an easy ride over others.
Each instructor ensures that a student does his/her own work without depending on another to plagiarize or cheat in any form. They closely supervise students during testing and ensure that each independently does his/her work. Mass Communication instructors, as far as my assessment can show, can only sympathize with a student by asking him/her to repeat a course when that student performs poorly, but receiving money or exchanging grade for sex is a taboo for all.
I am candid to attest to this ethical practice because if it were the case, many financially potent students and attractive females who have spent over six years there would have graduated two years ago. Amidst the social and economic temptations confronting almost all instructors at the UL, there is no confirmed or unconfirmed report connecting any Mass Communication instructor to compromising ethics and principles to satisfy the desires of under-performing students.
When Professor Joe Mulbah died in 2011, many students who could not pass their sophomore courses in Communication were happy because what they believed to be a barrier preventing them from excelling to the next level had been removed. To their dismay and frustration, this situation consistently and persistently remains and has even become more intensive and entrenched.
The instructors’ adherence to ethics and principles has led many students who entered the university far back in 2010 to still be repeating courses, while others have transferred to other academic disciplines because they could not contend with the lessons and they find it difficult to get the men and women in this department compromise their ethics and principles. In fact, in order to prevent students from interfering with their decisions, Mass Communication instructors usually delay in giving test papers out to students after a semester exam. During this time, many of them have their phones switched off not to be tempted to tamper with decisions they have already made. Some do not even allow students to write names on test papers but identification numbers. This is also meant to avoid any temptation that may arise from social or family connections.
The experience with instructors and staff of the Department of Mass Communication truly sets the basis to believe that despite the presence of many unethical and unscrupulous people in the education system of Liberia, there are still others who have a fixed mind for honesty, sincerity, and self-respect. Many a time smart students are left disappointed when they see undeserving colleagues triumphing with honor roll grades to their disbelief, but the instructors of this department are an exception to that phenomenon.
Therefore, for their impactful deportment and ethical exhibition, please permit me to mention their names: The late Professor Joe F. Mulbah, Associate Professor Weade Kobbah-Wureh, and Professor Alhaji G.V. Kromah; LBS Director General Ledgerhood Rennie, Mr. Albert Lloyd, Mr. Euriah Togar; Mr. Frank Sainworla, Attorney Alphonsus Zeon and Honorable Professor Richmond Anderson; Professor James Wolo (deceased), Mr. Adolphus Scott and Mr. Seyon Kieh.
I am grateful to these men and women and all other office staff for ensuring a successful and independent learning atmosphere in this department at the University of Liberia.
Restoration of serious learning in Liberia can only take place when instructors adapt an ethical standard as these people have done. Even though it irritates students and makes instructors unpopular; the end results of such discipline are always honesty, dedication, independence, self-confidence, sincerity, and joy. From these experiences, I am convinced that a member of the 98th Graduating Class will not feel inferior to write a story or conduct public relations activities when he/she meets the challenge.
Bravo to all graduates, and fervent prayer for colleagues who are yet to complete!
About the author:
Joaquin M. Sendolo is a member of the 98th graduating class of the University of Liberia with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Mass Communication. This adds to his first Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Management.