NCHE Threatens ‘Bogus, Substandard’ Institutions

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The Executive Director of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) said the Commission will shortly begin weeding out bogus and substandard institutions from the higher education system. Speaking at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular press briefing on  July 9, 2024, Dr. Edward Lama Wonkeryor, said this will ensure compliance to standards by accredited institutions. Already, the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) has outlined its strategic objectives for 2024-2026 in which the exercise forms part of.  According to him, the exercise will be achieved through regular and systematic monitoring of universities and colleges to establish their compliance to guidelines and standards set by the NCHE. “This is very important to battle the many quack colleges and universities that are regularly creeping at all levels of the Liberian society, with some offering Master’s degrees and PhD’s. Our Quality Assurance Department has already commenced a vigorous campaign to identify and locate such institutions for the appropriate actions,” he disclosed. The NCHE head further said “As a means to successfully implement the statutory mandates of the NCHE, we have developed an Activity Work Plan which articulates the following strategic objectives aimed at holistically transforming the higher education system of the country.  These strategic transformational objectives have been developed with reference to the 2022 Education Sector Plan (ESP), and they constitute NCHE’s deliverables for 2024 – 2026 in the context of the ESP.” He said key among these strategic objectives are strengthening quality assurance for higher education institutions. Dr. Wonkeryor said “To achieve this objective, we have launched a vigorous campaign towards the establishment of quality assurance cells at each accredited institution, from whence the delivery of programs can be monitored at the institutional levels.  This involves checking faculty quality, curriculum usefulness, lecturers’ attendances, and many others.  At the national level, the NCHE has already begun engagement with policymakers for support towards verification of credentials of staff within the higher education sector, with major focus on lecturers and management staff of our higher education institutions (HEIs). The NCHE will also collaborate with the Civil Service Agency (CSA) in assessing the authenticity of employment status of staff within the higher education sector.” Part of the objectives include strengthening the regulatory authority of the NCHE to effectively manage the higher education sector.  Under this strategic objective, Dr. Wonkeryor said it is intended to establish a modernized headquarters from whence the NCHE will adequately and passionately coordinate and administer the activities of higher education.  “This campaign is well progressing, with two (2) acres of land already acquired, deeded and probated, thanks to the University of Liberia family, led by Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., former President of the University of Liberia, for granting us the land. We have also submitted our request to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for assistance to construct the office building for the NCHE.  We are following up on this request, while seeking other means for funding,” he said.  He also disclosed that under this objective, they intend to revise the 1989 Act that created the National Commission on Higher Education as a means to build and upgrade the statutory capacity of the Commission for effective performance Other strategic objectives for 2024-2026 include establishing partnerships and collaboration with the public and private sector through Public and Private Partnerships (PPPs) to enhance offer.  Creating an enabling environment for safe and inclusive access to Higher Education (HE) institutions. Others include integrating digital technology in higher education and establishing and capacitating effective database on higher education among others. At the same time, Dr. Wonkeryor has announced that the Commission is faced with challenges. He named the 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; He also named limited human resource capacity; disclosing that the NCHE currently has a total of 29 employees, including senior staff. This, he said points to the inadequacy of manpower to handle the herculean task of managing or supervising the huge higher education sector of Liberia. Dr. Wonkeryor also talked about the lack of training opportunities to build the capacity of staff to cope with contemporary higher education. The National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) is an institution that bears the statutory responsibility for the regulation and accreditation of higher education programs in Liberia. Established by an Act of National Legislature in 1989, the NCHE has the mandate to regulate, manage, and monitor higher education activities in Liberia.  Currently, the NCHE recognizes 80 higher education institutions (HEIs), which are grouped into three (3) categories by credentials, including a) two (2) Doctoral Degree-granting institutions, b) Eleven (11) Master’s Degree-granting institutions, c) Thirty-Five (35) Bachelor’s Degree-granting institutions, and d) Thirty-One (31) Associate’s Degree-granting institutions.\Monrovia Latest News

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