NCHE Declares War On Fake Varsities, Degrees -Releases Activity Work Plan

The National Commission on Higher Education( NCHE) has announced that in keeping with its statutory mandates, has developed an Activity Work Plan which articulates her strategic objectives aimed at holistically transforming the higher education systems of the country, among which are to launch a vigorous campaign towards the verification of credentials of staff within higher education sector, with major focus on lecturers and management staff of the country’s higher education institutions and weeding out bogus and substandard institutions from the system.

The position of NCHE was delivered by the Director General Dr. Edward Lama Wonkeryor when he spoke to the media on a variety of issues affecting the educational system of the school and the measures needed to salvage the system so as to provide the right learning environment of students who are being prepared to take leadership role and contribute their quota to the nation building process.

Dr. Wonkeryor also said part of the plan is to build and upgrade the statutory capacity of the Commission for effective performance, adding that the analyses and observations of the past and current realities point to the need for elevating the NCHE to a Ministry – preferably to be called the “Ministry of Higher and Technical Education” – in order to achieve its herculean mandates. He said international best practices also confirm that the regulatory agency requires a cabinet status to enable the management present and discuss cardinal policy matters at the cabinet level where the Head of State is present and presiding.

The learnt educator further said there are also plans to provide a modernized headquarters from whence the NCHE will adequately and passionately coordinate and administer the activities of higher education. “This campaign is progressing well, with our request to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for assistance to construct an office building for the NCHE. We have also engaged the University of Liberia for a parcel of land for this purpose”, he said.

“The attainment of these attractive objectives is seriously challenged by inadequate budgetary support from the Government. It is astonishing to hear that the NCHE has only an annual budget of a little over $300,000.00USD, covering salaries, goods and services. As a consequence of this dismal budgetary appropriation, the NCHE suffers very indiscriminately”, Dr. Wonkeryor said

He then listed some of the challenges facing NCHE due to low budgetary support, among which are shortage of logistics, especially vehicles, to facilitate crucial activities, such as monitoring and evaluation, and the conduct of institutional assessments, which are crucial towards ensuring compliance to established standards by the HEIs and limited human resource capacity as the NCHE currently has a total of 29 employees, including senior staff; this points to the inadequacy of manpower to handle the phenomenal tasks of managing or supervising the huge higher education sector of Liberia;

He also listed limited or inadequate clerical equipment, including computers, laptops, and printers, to facilitate the conduct of the tedious tasks of the Commission and lack of training opportunities to build the capacity of staff to cope with contemporary higher education.

The latest decision of the NCHE is being seen as the right step in the right direction to save a very important sector of the country drowning down the drain and is fast eroding the chances of the country benefiting from its human capacity building process. In recent times the sector has been trending for the wrong reason as stories are found all over about the proliferation of fake higher institutions where unfortunately some lecturers are parading with dubious credentials.

According to the records from NCHE there are 54 higher institutions which include 9 of them offering both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, 21 Bachelor’s degree awarding institutions and 24 offering Associate’s degrees. Among them, 11 are public, private institutions are 19 and faith-based are 24 and distributed across 10 counties.

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