Agriculture scholars at the Cuttington University in Bong County have been awarded certificates of high performance in their studies.
Twenty students from the College of Agriculture were honored over the weekend by the USAID-Excellence in Higher Education for Liberia Development project after accumulating a grade point of 3.25 and above under a project being implemented by the Research Triangle Institute International in Liberia.
The USAID-Excellence in Higher Education for Liberia Development project is geared toward producing Agriculture and Engineering Scholars who will become future employers and entrepreneurs. The program has been running since 2011 in the Country with beneficiaries studying at the University of Liberia’s Department of Engineering and Cuttington University’s Department of Agriculture, respectively majoring in the two professional disciplines.
Deputy Chief of Mission and Director of USAID-Liberia, Ms. Barbara Dickerson, who served as keynote speaker during the ceremony, said the People of the United States of America are proud to support education in Liberia with a focus on development-driven career areas such as Agriculture and sustainable development and Engineering.
Ms. Dickerson added that America has been engaged heavily in teachers training /development and public health, considering that these areas would bring about rapid economic growth and development to the people of Liberia.
According to the USAID Executive, it is against this backdrop that the institution has been partnering with the Universities of Liberia and Cuttington through the EHELD project to establish the Centers of Excellence Engineering and Agriculture aimed at preparing professionals and entrepreneurs in both fields.
She disclosed that since the commencement of the Agriculture program at Cuttington University in 2011, over 110 students have received support with 26 graduating with honor.
She praised the EHELD students for being committed to their studies, which have enabled them to reaching to top, something, which she noted should make them, their families and Liberia at large proud.
She indicated that for the honorees to have accumulated 3.25 and above grade point average shows their determination to consider the sky as their beginning in their academic sojourn.
In a special remark, the Regional Director of the Research Triangle Institute International Cakir Volkan Hamit, said his current trip and interaction with stakeholders of the USAID-EHELD project has afforded him a clearer understanding of the entire EHELD project; its goal and what it has already achieved.
Mr. Hamit said based on his assessment, the project is on track and stressed the need to sustain the program. He described his visit to Liberia as an eye opener that has created a space for interaction with major stakeholders here which has placed him in a better position in knowing key issues regarding the USAID-EHELD project that is being implemented by his organization, the RTI international.
For their part, the Cuttington University lauded the American support to the University over the years, which has brought about tremendous facelift to the institution. The CU family termed the honoring of deserving students as significantly historic, noting that Cuttinton recognizes efforts by USAID in getting the University to where it is through long standing relationship between the two institutions.
The Chief of Party for the USAID-EHELD project Yarkpazuo Kolva, in special opening remarks said, the primary focus of the project being implemented through the Research Triangle Institute is a workforce development program through the Centers of Excellence in Engineering and Agriculture at the Universities of Liberia and Cuttington with an outcome to prepare young Liberians to develop their country.
Kolva said the project was definite that by the end of 2016, the Centers of Excellence would be fully ready with improved learning condition and environment, strong instructional staff and a strong engagement with employers, which sets the pace for graduates to have possible employment opportunities.
He added that the Centers of Excellence program is being implemented in collaboration with partners from the Research Triangle Institute.
Kolva reported that the project has already awarded scholarship for 12 Master’s degrees, one doctorate, including five professional teacher’s program to staff and Teaching Assistant, adding that the Doctorate degree candidate is expected to be back by the end of the project.