Liberia: Fake University in Nimba Offers Graduate Degree Program in 16 Weeks

The building used by Gamaliel Christian International University accused of offering Bachelor’s degree within 12 weeks and Masters’ degree within 16 weeks of studies in Bahn City, Nimba County

Capitol Hill, Monrovia – The House of Representatives and the National Commission on Higher Education have launched two separate investigations into the alleged existence of a fake University, the Gamaliel Christian International University in Bahn City, Nimba County.

The institution is alleged to be offering Bachelor’s degree within 12 weeks and Masters’ degree within 16 weeks of studies.

But a representative of the school denied the allegation and said the institution, which is based in Sierra Leone was real and offering online courses for its Liberian students.

In recent days, there have been reports from Nimba County that a Sierra Leonean was operating what looks like a fake institution of higher learning in the area.

This report prompted the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) to issue a press statement on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 in which it ordered the school’s administration to halt all of its activities and come to Monrovia for investigation. 

A day later, the plenary of the House of Representatives mandated is Committee on Education to probe into the allegation and report within one week for possible actions.

The House’s decision was based on a communication from Representative Roger S.W.Y. Domah (District #7, Nimba County) informing plenary that the practice of the Gamaliel Christian International University operating within his constituency was in total violation of Liberia’s Education Reform Law of 2011.

Rep. Domah craved plenary to invite the Minister of Education and the Director General of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) to explain why the institution is being allowed to operate in the country.

“It is surprisingly bewildering that an institution granting degree will do so in 12 and 16 weeks for Barchelor and Master’s degrees respectively,” Rep. Domah complained.

Section Four of the Education reform Law of 2011 called for the “structure of the Liberia education system to be the 9-3-4 structure and shall consist of the following stages: two years of early childhood education, followed by nine years of basis education; three years of senior secondary education or three years of technical and vocational education in lieu thereof and four years of university or other tertiary undergraduate education.”

NCHE Halts Institution’s Operations

Speaking to FrontPage Africa on Thursday, the Acting Director General of the National Commission on Higher Education, Professor David Dahn said the commission has put a complete halt to the institution’s activities and have summoned all of its staff to Monrovia for further investigation.

“We have taken some steps against that institution and have announced that it must ceased to exist and all those who running it have been invited to Monrovia and as we speak they are on their way,” Prof. Dahn said.

We just found out about that institution coming to have graduation about two to three days ago and we are taking all the necessary steps to put a halt to everything.”

DEO Denies Supporting the School

Meanwhile, report from Bahn City say the school has gotten the backing of the District Education Officer of the area, Mr. Roger V. Sonyah as he has offered his services to lecture at the institution.

Several hundred students including teachers who have ceased the opportunity to attain higher education, are also said to have enrolled at the school and large number of them are awaiting graduation.

However, Mr. Sonyah, speaking to FrontPage Africa denied of rendering support to the school. He said the school’s administration had earlier told him that it was duly accredited to operate as a university and based on its assertions, he decided to render tutorial to some of the students. But after news emerged of graduation and illegal operations, he immediately detached himself from the school and ordered his teachers who had enrolled to quit.

Said DEO Sonyah: “They introduced themselves to me and said they have done all the work they supposed to do, and their headquarter is in Ganta. They told me that they wanted to decentralize education and do not want to be based in Monrovia. So, after sometimes we got closer to them and I tried to find out about the structure of their programs. I did not see anything that supposed to make somebody qualified for even an ‘AA’ degree.”

He continued: “I asked them whether there were specialty because I was hearing about people presenting thesis and people were about to graduate.  I asked what are the students majoring in and no one could tell me anything substantive. And when I investigated, I found a lot of faults and I told them that I do not have any link with you people any longer. Thereafter, I advised my teachers from going there because they [the teachers] have been so much hungry for this degree…”

‘False and Misleading’

Meanwhile, a representative of the institution in Liberia, Godgrace Benedict Zarwolo said the allegations levied againstGamaliel Christian International University were false and misleading.

He said thecourses being offered in Liberia are part of the Sierra Leone’s branch of the institutions on line programs which run for three years. Zarwolo, said before graduation, students must complete a minimum of 144 courses approved by the school’s faculty based in Goderick, Sierra Leone.

He denied report that he is a Sierra Leonean and said he is a Liberian but did most of his studies outside of the Country.

Speaking further, he revealed that there are only 11 students that have been qualified for graduation after a thorough vetting process and because of COVID-19 and the difficulty in going to Sierra Leone for graduation, the school decided to conduct its graduation in Bahn.

The pending exercise, he added was also intended to raise awareness about the institution which will soon be operating as a full fledge university in Liberia.

Said Zarwolo: “The graduation was a form of awareness and not that we have a campus here. We have to download most of the books for the students and since the students wanted a physical classroom to get further help, we decided to grant their wish, but not a school. Most of their lessons are offered on line and they have completed it.”

The news, he said was a smear campaign to tarnish the reputation of the university and deprived Liberians the opportunity to attain quality and higher education.

When asked what are some of the courses the institution is offering, he referred FPA to the school’s website. According to the website, the Gamaliel Christian College worldwide was incepted in Cameroun in 2004 during which period its Chancellor Apostle Dr. Samuel J. Williams was a refugee as a result of civil war in Liberia.

The institution said since then, Dr. William passion to increase the level of knowledge among ministers of the Gospel has taken him to several nations in Africa; and as a result Gamaliel now has four functional campuses in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, and Malawi with advance school of Ministers in over 12 other African nations.

Some of its courses offered include Theology, Education, ICT, Social Science, Business Studies, Economics, Public Admin/Management, and Agriculture.