Liberia: Verification of Credentials of Higher Education Instructors Underway

The National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) and the Credential Evaluation Verification and Educational Services (CEVES) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to verify credentials of instructors in various institutions of higher learning across the country.

When implemented, the MOU, signed on Thursday, January 16, 2020, will identify credentials acquired dubiously by some so-called college or university professors teaching in most colleges and universities across Liberia.

It can be recalled that a few years ago the NCHE, under Dr. Michael Slawon, began similar project and a couple of names surfaced in various universities and professional institutions for holding fake Master's and Doctorate degrees, but the verification process did not last for a long time and there was not much the public could get in the end concerning actions taken by the NCHE to revert the situation.

It was however established that those involved in the acquisition of fake degrees, mainly fake professional degrees, were those who returned to Liberia after the war and professed that they acquired those degrees in countries like Nigeria and other West African States. Some, however, are said to have brought theirs from the United States.

The MOU that was signed is part of a response in consideration to the colossal challenges of Liberia educational quality provision, particularly at the level of higher education.

The new partnership will help NCHE verify credentials of managements and faculties for employment in higher education and consider a background check.

Prof. David S. Dahn, NCHE's acting director, told journalists that at the signing ceremony that CEVES, as a non-governmental organization, has come into partnership with the NCHE to ensure that credentials of all the administrators and instructors at various higher educational institutions are verified to make sure that what they present meets the commission's standard.

He said there is a standard set for those who are teaching in higher educational institutions in terms of qualification, adding that the commission is having a problem with interpreting the credential of an institution that is not within the English-speaking country, but with the partnership, CEVES will be able to help in that direction.

"Having signed the MOU," he said, "we are well on course with the assessment we will carry on at the various higher learning institutions to find out credentials that do not meet our standard to teach in universities."

Prof. Dahn said the commission's focus is on quality delivery of higher education opportunities to all students in Liberia and that can only be done through instructors with the right credentials.

Allyson Neeplo, CEVES Country Coordinator, said the inevitability for collaboration, affiliation and partnership to revive the educational challenges is unquestionable.

She said given that the Government of Liberia alone cannot accomplish this monumental task without the intervention of others, that is why CEVES is partnering with the NCHE.

Neeplo said the partnership will provide consultancy service at the level of higher education in the development of the structure, system, and policies as required.

According to Neeplo, the MOU also seeks to provide training for Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the conduct of research and publication, and offer training in Internal assurance services by helping them establish their own quality assurance mechanisms that respond to NCHE requirements.

Neeplo said both NCHE and CEVES' collaboration will serve as a watchdog for higher education regarding standard and compliance with educational policies and law.

CEVES-Liberia is a non-for organization established in 2019 with the vision to build a culture of academic quality assurance that ensures excellence, accountability and competitiveness in higher education institutions in Liberia.

"It makes up a consortium of researchers working to contribute to improving the educational quality provision, especially at the level of higher education by introducing new ways through best practices in the conduct of research, the structure of systems and accountability," said Neeplo.

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