By: Amb. Matthew Berian Blaybah,
Student leader and Human Rights Activist
I am honored and privileged to share my thoughts on the proposed
online learning document of the African Methodist Episcopal University.
With reference to the proposed document from the administration of the African Methodist Episcopal University, which has to do with the online learning introduced by the administration, simply means; the newly appointed President (Rev. Alvin E. Attah) of the University is a leader with innovation who has come to brighten the university (AMEU) .
However, I have been taught by this university (AMEU) that there are couple of things to consider before one can make a decision in the best interest of all the followers.
With such knowledge, I am humble to say that there are things that may not have been considered before reaching out with said proposal/decision from the administration’s angle i.e., the online learning program amidst this global COVID-19 pandemic.
Cognizant of the fact that online learning requires electronic devices like smartphone, and laptop; then there are things that may have been left out before reaching this decision.
Moreover, there were so many questions to have been asked before deriving at this online learning decision.
Permit me to kindly catalog few for consideration:
1.How many of the students of this University (AMEU) are internet users?
If they are many, what are the best alternatives for the others who are not internet users?
2. Can a hungry man learn with understanding?
This is a rhetorical question that requires a definite answer like no.
Amid this global pandemic (COVID-19), bulk of our people including students of the African Methodist Episcopal University cannot timely find food to eat to the extent, they are attracting National Government attention to make allotment for food and other essential livelihood stuffs.
3. Are majority of the students of the African Methodist Episcopal University knowledgeable to the “Google online Classes” and “Zoom”?
It will interest the administration (AMEU) to know that there are students of this noble university (AMEU) who are for the first time in their entire life just hearing of this “Google online Classes and Zooms”.
Now, most of the countries in the world that introduced an online learning produced extra learning facilities to students on how to access the selected online applications they used.
4. Does AMEU have lecturers that are fairly knowledgeable to the “Google Online Classes and Zoom”? If not all, how will they use the applications and even help students that will be challenged to use them?
5. What becomes of students that are visually impaired, and those students that are deaf? My question is; if they were not taken into consideration during this proposed online learning decision, what will be the best alternatives for them?
If these questions were not asked, then I am strongly convinced that the plan which include the online learning is important but not in the interest of the students especially during this crises, considering students being the integral stakeholders within this institution (AMEU).
Moreover, the proposed online learning document has raised several concerns amongst students that it is untimely.
As a student leader, I am under the moral obligation to covey the disenchantments of students to administration of which the AMEU is of no exception.
Moreover, history will negatively record me if I do not make recommendations to the administration of the African Methodist Episcopal University.
Therefore, kindly permit me to make these recommendations as a student leader and a Human rights activist for consideration, if necessary by the administration of the African Methodist Episcopal University:
1. The administration (Policy Makers) of AMEU should ask the above questions I outlined, and if the questions provide positive answers for the majority of the students, the administration should also provide alternatives for the few students that will be affected, as the primary objective should be to benefit all students, and there should be no extra financial cost, for our national Economy is at a downtrend.
2. If the above questions provide negative results for the majority students, the administration of AMEU should reconsider the decision and kindly accept these suggestions below:
A. Provide a one month or more class room program for the students on campus to end this semester (2019/2020 semester 2) if we (Liberians) are declared free of the COVID-19 before August 1, 2020 by the National Government.
B. If we are not declared free of the COVID-19 before August 1, 2020, kindly cancel the semester (2019/2020 semester -2), and allow students to enroll with the financial records of 2019/2020 semester-2 being constant in the following or next semester with same courses.
To conclude, I am aware that the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) is the future of other Universities in Liberia, and the administration is doing everything possible to make the University (AMEU) the best amongst others in Liberia through its innovation model.
With humble spirit, I think it is also unfair to take a decision that is not in the interest of the students of the AFRICAN Methodist Episcopal University.
Therefore, I am kindly seeking the consideration of the administration of the African Methodist Episcopal University on a decision that will benefit all the students of AMEU, and not leaving a single student of AMEU out.