Liberia: National Commission on Higher Education Gives Change Agent Network to Run University

Change Agent Network University President Dr. Isaac Podah (right) along with one of his staff, Mr. John Lake, display the letter of permission given to them by the National Commission on Higher Education

Monrovia – The Board of Commissioners of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) has given its approbation to the management of the ‘proposed Change Agent Network University (CAN-U)’ to begin full operation this March 2022. The approval was granted on January 17, 2022.

NCHE Board said its approval to the ‘proposed CAN-U’ authorizes it a “Licensure” status to commence operations in the specific disciplines, including Business, Theology, Education and Agriculture.

“The approval of the proposed CAN-U by the Board of Commissioners of NCHE authorizes the College a ‘Licensure’ status to commence operations of the College in the specific disciplines mentioned above at the Associate level for an initial two-year period,” NCHE said in its letter to CAN-U’s management. 

The Commission further said that during these initial two years of operations by CAN-U, it will routinely monitor and evaluate the performances and deliveries of its programs approved. “Next, CAN-U will reapply for the status of accreditation, and the approved program and activities will be thoroughly reassessed, to determine the CAN-U’s fitness for full accreditation status,” NCHE said in its letter signed by its Director General, Professor Dr. (PhD) Edward Lama Wonkeryor. 

Notwithstanding NCHE granting permission for CAN-U to begin operations, it recommends, however, that CAN-U’s applying name be changed to “Change Agent Network College” in keeping with its programs approved at the Associate degree status, aligned with NCHE Policy for Regulating Postsecondary Institutions within Liberia.

Speaking with this media outlet, Dr. Isaac Podah, President, CAN-U, assured the Commission on Higher Education that its recommendations will be fully implemented. Dr. Podah thanked NCHE for granting them the licensure to operate a postsecondary learning institution in Liberia. 

The CAN-U president further said that they are hoping to begin with at least 100 students when they begin full academic operations in March on their campus, which is based in the New Breed Community, Fissibu Town, Zorzor District, Lofa County, Northern Liberia.

Dr. Podah: “We hope to have more than 100 students by the time we begin academic activities. We are going to try as much as possible for people to turn out to take the entrance. We want students from all around the country.” 

On what they are going to do to attract students, he added: “We have observed that people are suffering, and times are hard. While we will want students to pay their fees in cash, we have also devised a way for students who may not have 50 percent in cash. They will be required to bring the balance in goods, including Palm Oil, farm produce, etc.”

According to him, it’s not CAN-U’s intention to make money, but to break the chain of poverty through providing quality education for its students. He also stated that they are going to begin with the colleges that NCHE approved and will be hoping to expand and include other programs in the future.

He boasted that CAN-U is “fully prepared financially and academically for opening in March 2022.”

He then thanked their host, Fissibu townspeople, for giving them the land to build their community and university.

Brief History of How Change Agent Network University

According to Mr. Eric Wowoh, Founder of CAN, the birth of the Change Agent Network University (CAN-U) started during his very first trip back to his hometown of Fissibu, Zorzor District, Lofa County, Northern Liberia on October 17, 2011.

“From information that I gathered from my Late Maternal Uncle Mr. Flomo Pewu, I was born in Fissibu Town but when I was like two years old, my parents relocated our family to John Hill, Bassa Community in Bong Mines, Lower Bong County, Central Liberia. Our family moved away from Lofa in search of greener pastures. Bong Mines was booming economically because of the Bong Mining Iron Ores Company.

Fast forward, he narrated that it took him many months of negotiations, including house to house visitations with the elders, before he was given eight acres of land to build the first three buildings to begin the university. 

“This is the first indigenous higher institution of learning ever in the entire history of Lofa County. The land to construct CAN-U was donated by the local people themselves. It was built, it is owned, and operated by Lofaians. This is purely a pride of Lofa County! However, we alone cannot afford to continue to undertake this massive developmental task all by ourselves. I therefore, call upon all sons and daughters of Lofa County in particular and Liberia at large, friends, lovers of Lofa and partners to join us in paving and leading the way for this positive transformation to become a resounding success for all. I want us to collectively work together to move Lofa County and Liberia forward. Liberia can only be developed by Liberian themselves and the outside world can only help!” Eric W. Wowoh said.