The University of Liberia has announced plans to add courses on Ebola and other related viruses to its curriculum beginning next academic year. Making the disclosure Wednesday, 24 September on the UL Fendall Campus outside Monrovia, the Dean of the Thomas J. R. Faulkner College of Science, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, said a steering committee is seriously considering the Ebola virus to form part of the college’s teaching material.
Dr. Weeks said the decision is intended to prepare students and the entire intellectual class in the event of any future outbreak. She said that the administration of the university headed by Dr. Emmet Dennis, arranged the 14-men steering committee into four groups with each of the UL several campuses being used as focus point, including the Fendall, Medical, Sinjeh campuses and the Main Campus on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
The steering committee is comprised of administrators, faculty and student leaders with the objective of supporting the government’s fight against the virus as well as intensively creating awareness across the country. It has already begun engaging communities and electoral districts in Montserrado County.
Dr. Weeks added that the university has already launched a pilot program, creating scholarly awareness and educating the public on how to wash hands, and effectively utilize disinfectants in appropriate quantity to avoid a health hazard.
Also speaking to the media about the initiative, the Chairman of the Chemistry Department at the University of Liberia, James McClain, said the dream was given birth through support from the Liberia Telecommunication Authority, which provided US$2, 200 plus to the UL to kick-start the process. He added that the funds will be used to purchase needed materials and provide per diems to volunteers in the field.
Mr. McClain added that the university is also preparing brochures for intellectuals and others in simple Liberian English to get messages across, while songs and dramas will be aired on radio and television stations. Meanwhile, the UL administration is appealing to students to pay LD$25, faculty LD$50, while administrators have agreed to contribute LD$500 to the national cause.