WDI Completes Work To Improve U. of Liberia Curriculum

WDI leveraged its expertise in curriculum and pedagogy development to successfully complete a two-year project advising the University of Liberia’s (UL) accounting program as it seeks to reach international education standards.

The WDI team conducted a thorough review of the undergraduate accounting curriculum at UL, and compared it with that of two other institutions – the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the London School of Economics and Political Science. From the review, the WDI team then developed recommended curricula to be implemented at UL in two phases – the first in 1-3 years (a short-term curriculum) and the second in 3-5 years (a long-term curriculum).

The team produced detailed lists of topics and sample syllabi for the courses to be offered under the short-term recommendation. They then produced detailed lists of courses and sample syllabi to be offered under the long-term recommendation, with suggestions on how to include both in a new “professional track” program.

To help counter the lack of resources at UL, textbook publishers and charities were contacted about teaching materials, affordable textbooks, and reference materials for the library. UL faculty were given titles of recommended textbooks and alternate books to be used for each course in the proposed curriculum as well as contact information for publishers of academic and professional journals. Project funds also were used to purchase accounting textbooks for the university from the list of recommended textbooks, in close collaboration with the accounting department.

“We put forward a good plan,” said Jeff Williams, an accounting lecturer at Ross and a WDI consultant on the project who is optimistic most of the recently completed recommendations will be implemented. “We were able to stand back and come up with suggestions and ideas to build upon the foundation. We’re hopeful.”

During the project, which was funded by the World Bank, two members of the WDI team conducted site visits to UL. For his January 2014 visit, Robert Viernum, a WDI consultant in private sector development, met with faculty, UL administrators, and key stakeholders in the community.

The Liberian Business Association (LIBA) comprises more than 1,000 indigenous companies that are formally established and operating in all sectors of the Liberian economy. The student MAP team helped the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) and LIBA identify and support opportunities to enable Liberian small to medium-sized enterprises to boost their competitiveness by engaging in value chains and by supplying key inputs from both quality and quantity perspectives.

The Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) is the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) global institution-building platform with the private sector for business-born solutions to development challenges. IICPSD and UNDP, along with its corporate partners, worked on a procurement leveraging policy in Liberia with the goal of ensuring revenues from the country’s natural wealth created local content and measurable dividends to a broad base of individuals and communities. The student MAP team assisted partnering companies to explore how their local procurement strategies could be better centered on building local content, while assessing gaps that prevented local producers from entering supply chains.

The purpose of this higher education project was to upgrade the University of Liberia’s Accounting program to meet international education standards. WDI and the University of Liberia (UL) reviewed the University’s undergraduate and graduate accounting degree curricula, and improved the quality of teaching by strengthening faculty capacity through knowledge exchange.

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