Liberia’s Commissioner on Higher Education Dr. Michael Slewion says the demand for relevant degrees is not being met, judging from a “troubling” statistics on higher education in which Business College alone has 56 percent of all graduates here, compared to just 2.2 percent graduates from “engineering, Geology, Mathematics [and] physics” combined.
Dr. Slewion told state broadcaster ELBC on Tuesday morning, 10 November that “Our statistics show that from 2009 to 2013, the percentage of graduates in disciplines that are important for economic development is small.”
But some callers on the ELBC’s Super Morning Show argued Tuesday that more students were taking interest in acquiring degrees from Business College, probably to become self-employed or easily within the banking sector or other business entities here, given the high level of poverty and numerous challenges students go through in pursuit of quality education.
Dr. Slewion, however, cautioned that at the time Liberia was considering oil exploration, “engineering, Geology, Mathematics [and] Physics” combined make up just 2.2 percent of the graduates coming out of Liberian universities, warning that the “relevance is very important and we are not meeting the relevance.”
“So, the relevance is very important and we are not meeting the relevance,” he said, as he explained further how Business College dominates all other colleges with 56 percent of the total graduates, far ahead of just 3.8 percent graduates coming from Agriculture, Forestry and other related areas combined.
Having listed the six major Monrovia- based universities – the state-run University of Liberia, African Methodist University, African Methodist Zion University, United Methodist University and Stella Maris, Dr. Slwewion soon confessed how the war destroyed the state university’s chemistry lab and library, only saying “it will not remain like that forever.”
He described as “troubling,” the 3.8 percent of graduates accrued by Agriculture, Forestry and other related colleges, as well as 2.8 percent that comes from Teachers’ College at a time Liberia’s demand for professional teachers continues to remain high.
At least 17 percent of the graduates here are said to come from sociology background, according to Commissioner Dr. Slewion. He noted that the Commission was focused on three areas – access to higher education opportunity to the Liberian youth, quality and relevance.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen