The National Commission on Higher Education was established by an Act of the National Legislature in 1989 to formulate broad policy guidelines for the establishment of Institutions of Higher Education in Liberia, serve as the regulatory body for all Institutions offering degrees, and coordinate and serve as the principal liaison between Institutions of learning offering degrees in the country. Additionally, the Commission does the following:
- Facilitate the establishment of an autonomous National Accreditation Center responsible to accredit all higher institutions of learning in Liberia.
- Approve new and existing programs of higher education for funding, after having satisfied itself of their needs for national development and assessing the institution’s ability to implement the program; and
- Review existing programs at institutions of higher education with the aim of establishing priority programs of study based on national needs.
Powers and Functions of the Commission
In furtherance of its objectives, the promotion of higher education, research and development, the Commission performs the following functions along with the power to ensure compliance:
- Develop and or prescribe conditions under which all higher education institutions (public, private, and faith based) in the country can be opened, accredited and operated. Formulate in collaboration with existing institutions policy guidelines for the establishment of new programs or higher education institutions in the country;
- Advice the Government of Liberia on the granting of Charters for the creation of institutions that would award degrees in the public, private and faith based sectors.
- Support the development and implementation of training programs, symposium, workshops, and or dialogues designed by institutions within the sector to enhance national development;
- Promote formal linkages among all institutions within the sector to facilitate most effective use of the experiences, equipment, expertize and encourage international linkages to enhance collaboration in research and knowledge sharing.
- Serve as the principal liaison between higher education institutions and the Government of Liberia including recommending higher education institutions or programs of higher education for funding;
- Work with agencies of government, faith based institutions and the private sector to compile data on manpower needs of the country that would enable higher education institutions design programs and guide the academic choices of their students.
Develop minimum standards of quality including but not limited to:
- Criteria for awarding academic degrees
- Qualification for instructors and administrators
- Criteria for the governance of higher education institution
- Adequacy of facilities for students and staff
- Up-to date publications (e.g. academic calendar, class schedule, catalog, and handbooks).
- Criteria for the evaluation of the students and their progress towards graduation
- Financial ability of an institution to support quality education
Work with higher education institutions to develop and institutionalize a research culture including but not limited to:
- Establishing rule governing the conduct of research to ensure that the rights and welfare of humans participating as subjects in the research study are protected;
- Ensuring that all research conforms to international standards/rules governing copyrights, plagiarism, and intellectual integrity;
- Encouraging research that focuses on the development agenda of the country;
- Maintaining a data base of expertise for research within higher education in particular and the public at large; and
- Develop and enforce a compliance regime with requisite penalties for each of the functions indicated in the counts above.