|Source: United Methodist News|
On February 26, 2022, the first class of students graduated from the United Methodist University in Sierra Leone.
Founded by the late resident Bishop John K. Yambasu, the university’s first class includes 7 students graduating in theology, 18 students graduating with National Diplomas in Education, and 7 with certificates in chaplaincy.
Bishop Yambasu, who also served as the school’s inaugural chancellor, did not live to see the first class of his beloved university graduate, due to his unexpected death in a car accident in August 2020.
In remarks by speakers during commencement activities, they recalled the bishop’s passion for education and desire to see local members of his community have access to higher education to cultivate both skills and character.
Vice chancellor Professor George Carew said, “The emphasis on skills alone may create educated teachers who take bribes from their students; professional nurses and doctors who consistently exploit their patients; and politicians who betray the trust of their people and drive their country to economic ruin. Education should never produce learned monsters.”
That is why, he said, the United Methodist University is committed to the motto of “Excellence, Integrity and Service.”
The plans for the university developed out of deliberations within the conference faculty of theology to train pastors, chaplains, and missionaries. Embodying what Carew calls “the evangelical wing of the church,” education is core to how the Sierra Leone Conference views its ministry within the country. Currently, the conference boasts over 300 primary and 50 secondary schools.
Within the university’s strategic plan for the next four years, they hope to be able to train at least 400 teachers to also serve as chaplains to help promote evangelism.
“The training of professional teachers to return moral decorum to the classroom,” Carew said, “is certainly one way to impact the wider society in search of a moral compass.”
By cultivating both character and the mind of students, the conference hopes to address the alarming rates of failure students are experiencing on standardized tests such as the West Africa Senior Secondary Examination helping to position students for better jobs that will reduce generational poverty.
Source: United Methodist News