University of Liberia Poised of Mainstreaming Education in SDGs Model
Monrovia – Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, the president of the state-run University of Liberia says with just ten years remaining to the 2030 deadline of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is a need to expand society’s capacity to solve complex challenges.
Dr. Nelson made the statement when he spoke at the “LUX TALK” forum held at the auditorium of the university’s Capitol Hill campus. There, at the event, the UL president pointed out the University of Liberia’s commitment to the decade of action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Prof. Nelson, who is the 15th president of UL says the urgency of addressing climate change and the challenges of managing COVID-19 should highlight number four of the SDGs which calls for ensuring that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.
He says as providers of general, professional, and lifelong education to hundreds of millions of learners around the world, universities have a unique and critical role in achieving the SDGs.
“Universities have been providing some aspects of Education for the DSGs to some of their students through their tradition learning and teaching activities,” Dr. Nelson said.
He added: “However, there is a need to both scale up existing activities, as well as implemented and mainstreaming new types of transformative learning activities, which employ interdisciplinary, action-based learning and multi-actor involvement, and which go beyond usual operation.”
UL president disclosed that through the Department of International Development and Planning, the university has applied for membership to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solution Networks (SDSN).
This, he says will forge global network and partnerships universities to strengthen both national and global problems solving LUX TALK is a university program designed to bring policymakers, academics, and top-notch professionals, face-to-face with UL students, faculty and the general public to discuss, encourage and promote academic debates and policy discussions on campus.
The forum was launched in 2018 by Finance Minister Samuel Tweah during the regime of the former UL president Dr. Ophelia Weeks.
UL’s Vice President for Instruction and Development Prof. Weade Kobbah-Boley, Mr. Bobby Musa, and Asst. Prof. Thomas Kaydor were the three panelists at the forum. Each panelist was allotted 10 minutes to discuss universities and the SDGs -the role of academia in national development planning and processes.
Prof. Bolley says the university needs to be self-reliant. She names the establishment of a printing press as one of the factors of being self-sufficient.
UL’s Vice President for Instruction added: “We have 5,8000 acres of land for Agriculture College for food production. We have to put out graduate that will not be job seekers but one who can give out jobs. We are very key to gender equality in most of our programs with scholarships, especially for some of our new programs, we have to train people and women got to be part. So, we want to make sure to narrow the gap for gender equality.”
Also, another panelist, Assistant Professor Thomas Kaydor speaking calls for practical actions to ensure that if not all –some of the SDGs can be achieved.
“At the University of Liberia, one of our cardinal responsibility is our quality education,” Assistant Professor Kaydor added.
A development practitioner from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Mr. Bobby Musa alluded that countries around the globe should take into consideration SDGs in their development plans.
This, he says, will address the issue of eradicating poverty, environmental sustainability, and education to achieve genuine development and economic growth.