CU, Academic Group Forge Partnership -To Improve Learning

MONROVIA – The oldest and largest private higher institution of learning in Liberia, Cuttington University (CU) and an academic group, Applied Scholastics Liberia have forged a partnership to improve learning in the education sector of the country against the background of the endemic deterioration of standards and widespread illiteracy which are products of the effects of the broad social crises such as the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The partnership which was anchored by a Liberian scholar, Joseph Yarsiah and his American Lawyer colleague, Tim Boyles, both of whom with 16 years of successful human rights and literacy programs in West Africa, is an ambitious undertaking to improve learning effectiveness in the country.

According to information gathered by The Analyst, Yarsiah and Bowles started their collaborations in 2006, creating the African Human Rights Leadership Campaign, an initiative that grew annually across Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone, activating thousands of young people as human rights educators, teaching by example and deed.

The devastation inflicted by the Ebola crisis (2014-2016) upon Liberia and the region shifted the attention of the two members to finding solutions to the rising rate of illiteracy in the country. “Illiteracy clearly drove the broad sweep of that terrifying event.  Poor or non-existent education, itself a human rights violation, makes possible violations of the other 29  articles of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said Yarsiah.

“We thus resolved in 2016 to seek partnership with Applied Scholastics International,” Bowles said. “The organization’s successes in several African countries and across the world clearly showed its qualifications to solve illiteracy.  Applied Scholastics has done so by the confirmed effective learning methodology of American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, commonly referred to as ‘Study Technology.’  From personal experience in my 1970s law school studies and the tangible benefits of the methodology to our two daughters throughout their schooling, Study Technology clearly improves student conceptual understanding and competent application of any subject and at any level.  Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Applied Scholastics has enabled untold numbers of young people realize the genuine joy of learning, key to their life-long wellbeing and competent contributions to their communities,” Boyles said.

Thus by their pet project, the African Literacy Campaign (ALC), Yarsiah and Bowles have worked over the past six years with local youth leaders and a series of accomplished American and South African educators to introduce Study Technology to Liberia’s ministries, policymakers, teachers and students.

According to the two partners, ALC programs have included repeated teacher and student trainings in greater Monrovia, Kakata, and Tubmanburg, three years of delivery (2017-2019) through AMEU Monrovia’s “Vacation Bridge” high school-college transition program; and briefings to top government leaders and policymakers.

“With the easing of COVID restrictions, it is time to return the campaign to its pre-2020 levels and accelerate from there,” remarked Yarsiah.

His assertion was buttressed by Bowles who added, “The pandemic’s individual isolation and societal fragmentation are behind us.  In our meetings this week with Cuttington University leadership and other stakeholders, we are creating the collaborations necessary to provide this urgently needed help to this remarkable country.”

Dr. Amanze Charles Ihedioha, Vice President for Academic Affairs of CU, agreed, “Our university leadership is committed to bringing innovative approaches to education.  We are excited about our budding partnership with Applied Scholastics as one such avenue.”

An excited and positive Yarsiah summarized his impression of the working relationship being formed with CU, thus “Those blessed with the tools and opportunity to improve societal conditions, particularly in the educational sector, have the responsibility to do so.  Our mission is to empower the greatest resource we have – our youth – with the mean.”

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