Written by: Mac Samah, Nimba County
Many schools and colleges in Liberia are getting back on track as Liberia recovered from the scourge of the Ebola Virus Disease. The outbreak of Ebola in March 2014 prompted the government to shut down schools including the Nimba Community College.
The Community College is one of two colleges in Nimba County and it is now five years old since its establishment in 2010. As a fast growing college in Northern Nimba, it was expected to put out its first graduates December last year but Ebola stroked, causing backwardness not only for the school but all sectors in the country.
However, since the resumption of schools this year, the college’s agriculture department is speeding up with senior students of the department to meet the pending graduation this December.
If all goes well, the college’s first graduates will be introduced to the job market by 2016.
As a means of providing practical knowledge for students doing agriculture, 18 students were taken on a field trip to the Cocopa Rubber Plantation, a rubber concession company operating in the county.
Terry Dologbay, an agriculture instructor of the college who lead the trip, said it was necessary to take the trip to Cocopa because an MOU intending to provide traineeship for students of the college has been signed between the Nimba County Community College and the management of Nimba Rubber Incorporated which operates the Cocopa Rubber Plantation.
“Practical is the best aspect of learning. What is taught theoretically is only to guide the students in the process. For this reason, we don’t want to misguide our own children that are supposed to be sold without fear on the job market,” Dologbay said.
Mr. Dologbay assures the students that there would be more trips before graduation which is expected by December this year. He said this is intended to adequately prepare them so that they cannot shift blame on any instructor should they fail to exercise the acquired knowledge.
The field trip focused on rubber culture and was hosted by the management of Nimba Rubber Incorporated. Mr. Austin G. Yeanay, Acting Estate Manager, who travelled with the students on the farm consented signing MOU with the college and said there is a plan to establish a botanical nursery near the college to enable students start their practical as soon as they enter the college and decide on reading agriculture.
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, student Eleane Genseh expressed gratitude for the field trip and called on the administration of the college to use practical academic activities as the front line tool to prepare students meet the challenges ahead. She also admonished female students to take advantage of the college.
“I want to also encourage students graduating from grade schools to join us at the Nimba County Community College; especially girls, in the agriculture department to take agriculture as a priority because women are home feeders,” she said.
The Nimba County Community College was established by an act of legislature in 2010. Even though, the college is subsidized by the Government of Liberia with an up-and-down budgetary allotment, the county’s corporate social development fund from companies operating in the county and handouts from donors play major role in the running of the community college.
And with activities back on course after almost a year of pandemonium caused by the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country, many students at the college are optimistic that the future of the college is bright for preparing them for various sectors in the job market.