MONROVIA – With just few days after the latest regulation of the National Commission for Higher Education (NCHE) that restricts only holders of PhD to head higher institutions in the country, reports available to The Analyst said the Presidents of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZU), Rev. Alvin E. Attah and Dr. Benjamin Dormie Lartey have stepped down from their respective positions since they fell short of the requisite qualifications and their former positions are being advertised for replacement.
“This is to inform all heads of higher education institutions in Liberia that one of the overarching policy expectations of the NCHE is that all Presidents and Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs (VPAA’s) of Universities and Colleges operating in Liberia must possess a doctorate degree from an accredited university and /or colleges.
“An honorary degree holder is disallowed to serve as President or Vice President for Academic Affairs at any higher education institutions within the Republic of Liberia”, a press statement from NCHE signed and approved by G. Melvin Taydor, Acting Public Relations Officer and Prof. Edward Lama Wonkeryor, Director General stated.
Our checks revealed that most of the administrators who fell short of the new regulations are from the faith based and other private institutions whose criteria and procedure for recruitment are flexible and most determined by the owners of the institutions. It was noted that they are the likely institutions that are going to be seriously affected and already the ripple effects are being felt with a lot of distractions within both the academic and administrative running of these institutions.
Already, two of the faith based institutions, the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) and the African Methodist Zion University have declared the positions of their presidents vacant and have publicly advertised for qualified applicants to come forward.
In advertising the position for President, AMEU spelled out some salient criteria and qualifications the ideal candidate should possess, among which are the person should be a national of any given country living in or outside of Liberia, have an earned terminal degree (Ph.D or Ed.D) from a reputable institution of higher learning, have no less than five(5) years in a senior administrative and/or academic position at a college or university either as President, Vice President, Dean or Administrator, have no less than five(5) years of college or university teaching experience, at least at the level of associate professor, be computer literate, demonstrate knowledge and skills in financial related matters, including budgeting Exhibit excellent communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills, among others.
As for AMEZU, the advertisement has it that the interested person should possess an earned Doctorate degree from an accredited university, have no less than ten (10) years in a senior administrative and/or academic position at a college or university, either as President, Vice President, Dean or Administrator and be fully computer literate, must be a proven senior executive with a documented record of successful administrative management and a deep commitment to academic superiority, individual will also have experience in and/or passion for grounding institutional culture and serving as a fierce internal and external university champion, driven by intellectual curiosity and steady presence, the individual will bring outcomes oriented leadership to advancing the university’s s objectives and goals, strong people leadership and management skills with a proven background of empowering diverse groups of professionals, entrusting and amplifying the work of others, including experience with board governance and engagement, outstanding communications skills and diplomacy, including listening to, relating well, and inspiring various constituencies and people at all levels, among others.
There were strong indications that other faith based and private institutions such as Stella Maris Polytechnic University (SMPU), Smythe University, United Methodist University (UMU), among others may be following suit to replace some of their administrators who did not make the cut set by the new regulation.
The new regulation from NCHE is being viewed as being in the positive direction as it will go a long way to curb the wave of administrators of higher institutions, especially faith based institutions are taking up leadership roles at these academic centers without the requisite academic qualifications yet they are allowed to sign credentials of graduates for degrees the administrators do not possess.
This policy, according to sources who told The Analyst, was among several other recommendations forwarded to NCHE from stakeholders at the highest level of the education sector to promote standard and quality education in universities and colleges across the country. The findings which prompted the recommendations, among other things, noted that most of those heading higher institutions in the country hold honorary doctorate degrees while others obtained their higher degrees, normally, doctorate degrees from unverified online institutions.
The NCHE for some time now has been involved in waging war against the decay in the education sector beginning with cracking down on unlicensed and bogus institutions around those who are awarding fake degrees and other forms of certifications to unsuspecting students.
There are a total of 3 full-fledged public universities in the country, 14 community colleges and 25 private and faith based colleges and universities.
The NCHE is the statutory arm of the Liberian Government that regulates and supervises higher education institutions, and is charged with the responsibilities to license, accredit, monitor and evaluate all post-secondary institutions within the Republic of Liberia.