Students of the United Methodist University)UMU) are expected to enhance their academic performance through a digital learning center to be established at the school under the Samuel Morris Scholars program based on a partnership between the UMU and Innovative Education- Liberia (IEL).
The IEL is a local NGO with its parent company known as Innovative Education International, which is based in the United States. The Samuel Morris Scholars Program aims to bring critical computer technology —based learning to more than 700 schools over a five-year period, as well as provide university students with digital learning resources.
In order to make the Samuel Morris Digital Learning Center a reality on the UMU campus, the representatives of the TEL on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 presented 20 laptops with the inscription: “Samuel Morris Scholars Program,” to the Administration of the school, as the initial step in introducing technology-based learning experience for students and teachers of the school.
Making the presentation, Mr. Elijah J. Tarpeh, Country Director of the TEL, said the aim of the TEL is to help Liberian students excel in their academic pursuits, especially their math skills, using computer-based learning resources such as Khan Academy, KA-Lite and Gutenberg book, among others. “We are very excited about the enthusiasm being displayed by the UMU Administration to embrace this project in Liberia which will impact the learning of their students enormously,” he added.
The UMU has already identified a space on the main campus of the University for the Samuel Morris Digital Learning Center, which is presently being refurbished and expected to be opened very soon for the use of students and instructors at UMU in the coming semester.
Mr. Tarpeh noted that UMU is one of two universities in Liberia that has been identified for the pilot phase of the project, which will later expand to other higher institutions of learning in Liberia. The University of Liberia is the other institution identified to participate in the pilot phase, according to Mr. Tarpeh. Other TEL officials present for the presentation ceremony included Mr. Gary Friesen, Director of Educational Innovation.
Receiving the laptops, Dr. Emmanuel Bailey, President of UMU, expressed appreciation to the IEL for selecting to partner with UMU in providing digital -based learning experience for students of the school and eventually students of Liberia. “We will use these laptops to empower the powerless through education,” he added.
He assured the EEL officials that the partnership will not only enhance the academic performance of students, but will also be used as an opportunity to spread the Samuel Morris story in Liberia and his life will be exemplified for others to follow, as more people become aware of his spiritual life in the United States and his desire to return home to help his people in Liberia upon completion of his education.
Other officials of UMU present at the presentation ceremony included Dr. George Weabga, Vice President for Research and Institutional Advancement, Mr. Johnson Gwaikolo, Vice President for Fiscal Affairs, Dr. Yatta Young, and Dean of the UMU Masters of Theology Program, among others.
Samuel Morris was from the Kru tribe in Sinoe County and later migrated to the United States in 1881 and enrolled at Taylor University in Fort Wayne, Indiana. USA. He later died in 1893 from respiratory illness after a very brief academic pursuit, but he made a tremendous impact on the students and faculty of Taylor University as well as the community. In his honor, many of his fellow students are pursuing missions to Africa.