Harbel Community College in Harbel City, Lower Margibi County is engulfed with several challenges that are hampering its smooth operation, the New Dawn gathers. The President of the College, Dr. Syrulwa Somah, speaking to reporters recently in Kakata, named some of the challenges as lack of vehicles, lack of adequate administrative staff, such as vice presidents for administration, academic affairs, students affairs, institutional advancement and public relations officer, amongst others.
Dr. Somah continues that the college also lacks funds to hire professionals and construct a Science laboratory, describing the situation as strenuous.He called on the Government of Liberia, humanitarians and well-meaning Liberians to come to the aid of the college to enable it functions with ease.
Amidst challenges facing the nation’s educational system, President George Manneh Weah in November 2018 announced tuition-free education at all public universities and colleges across the country, a pronouncement that has received public criticism with many questioning its practicability, given serious economic constraints facing the government.
The Harbel College President disclosed that the institution has one academic dean who supervises all three programs being offered on campus. The college, which was built through the instrumentality of former Margibi County District Two Representative Ballah G. Zayzay, has operated for few years, awarding baccalaureate degrees to successful candidates completing studies in various disciplines.
The institution has enrolled more than 500 students and conducts critical research programs in climate change, Liberian Studies, Occupational Safety & Health, Agro-Business, Environmental Studies, and Mechanical and Renewable Engineering, respectively.
Like other public institutions across the country, the college has suffered low budgetary allocation, which continues to diminish its capacity. The bill to open the Harbel College was submitted by former Representative Zayzay. In 2012, ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed into law, “An Act to establish the Harbel College” in fulfillment of government’s higher education decentralization policy.
The Government of Liberia under former President Sirleaf opened several community colleges across the country, including Nimba Community College in Nimba County, Lofa Community College in Lofa County, Grand Gedeh Community College in Grand Gedeh County, Tubman University in Harper City, Maryland County, Grand Bassa Community College in Grand Bassa County, and Bong Community College in Bong County, among others.
By Ramsey N. Singbeh/Margibi–Editing by Jonathan Browne