Liberia: U.S. Doctorate Student Learns 'Kpelle' At the Salvation Army Polytechnic

Mr. Tyler Hook, an American student of the University of Madison, Wisconsin, the United States, has chosen a Liberian native language -- Kpelle -- as part of his doctorate degree studies on the Liberian education sector.

Hook is undergoing intensive tutorial in the Liberian language for a six-week period, courtesy the Salvation Army Polytechnic of Liberia, located diagonally opposite the Monrovia City Hall, 2nd Street, Sinkor. The 'Kpelle language tutorial' began July 3, 2019, and will continue through the third week of August, a total of six weeks.

Tyler Hook is a double-doctoral candidate in Educational Policy and Anthropology and is in Liberia to benefit from a student exchange program initiated by Dr. Emmanuel K. Urey, president of The Salvation Army Polytechnic (T-SAP), the youngest president of any college in Liberia.

The Kpelle language tutorial was the beginning of an extraordinary achievement for The Salvation Army Polytechnic, a newly accredited college in Liberia.

The Student Exchange program began as part of a broader vision of Dr. Urey and his team of Vice Presidents, Deans, Faculty and Staff. The vision began in July 2018 with the appointment of Dr. Urey as President of T-SAP; Mr. Austin Dormah as Vice President for Administration; and Dr. Pah K. Suku, Sr. as Vice President for Academic Affairs. Amid budgetary constraint, Dr. Urey and his team renovated what used to be a dilapidated building, recruited five Deans, administered entrance exams and recruited 318 students with 42 faculty members (many of whom are employed on part-time basis) in less than two months. By the beginning of the second semester, the enrollment of students had increased to 455, all majoring in various disciplines in five colleges including Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Education & Theology and Integrated Agriculture & Sustainable Development Studies.

The vision of T-SAP is to educate students who will go out and impact their families, communities and country by applying their education with the principle of integrity. For Dr. Urey and his team, the training of teachers is cardinal in fulfilling this vision. In furtherance of this vision, Dr. Urey last travelled to the United States in December, 2018, to seek potential collaborations with colleges and universities in the area of capacity building for T-SAP faculty and possible student exchange programs. He paid a courtesy visit to Dr. Jack E. Daniels, President of the Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. They discussed a pathway curriculum and capacity development for T-SAP.

In an initial step of capacity development, the Madison College invited T-SAP to send one engineering faculty member to participate in solar energy technology, focusing on how to teach solar energy. After a thorough vetting, Josephus Sonniful, an Engineering faculty member, was selected to benefit from the training, which lasted from July 9-11.

Courses offered at T-SAP include: Building Construction, Electrical Engineering, Automotive Technology and Electronic Engineering. Other courses are: Procurement and Contract Management, Accounting, Marketing, Hotel & Tourism Management, Human Resource Management, Public Administration, Economics (Business Statistics), Sociology, Education, Theology, Nursing, Agribusiness, Agronomy, General Agriculture, Agroforestry, and Agriculture Equipment Technology. T-SAP also grants the Diploma in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).

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