Meet Onana Glassco, local Wahjay-STEM teacher and Dean of Students

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Onana Glassco deferred his graduation at the Grand Bassa Community College in 2016 to fully engage his students in the Wahjay-STEM program at the World Wide Mission Standard Academy.  Many factors contributed to his decision. The GBCC campus moved from within walking distance of his job to 15 minutes away, which required him to take public transportation to attend his courses.  He tried to attend classes Spring 2016 for one month.  GBCC class schedule, travel time, and travel costs were his major difficulties as he also worked at the World Wide Mission Standard Academy.

Daily costs to travel to the new location for classes were financially straining.  Traveling costs were taking up to 10 percent of Onana’s income; at times he was required to attend classes on campus 2-3 times for any block of time during a day. His class schedule depended on his teacher’s work schedule, and he found that it conflicted with the work that afforded his cost of living.  He had a difficult yet satisfying personal decision to make: to continue with GBCC and work or simply focus on the Wahjay-STEM at his job. He decided on the latter.

During the Liberian civil war, education was hard to get. People who received education during the civil war had a family to support them financially. After the U.N peacekeepers assignment in Liberia, it became easier to have access to education. The quality was not reliable because the operations that facilitated proper learning was not available: textbooks, school facilities, school buses, and scholarships. Unemployment was extraordinarily high, and Liberians depended on financial stability from relatives outside of the country. Ten years later, education is easier to get because President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prioritized education for Liberian citizens. During the war, GBCC did not exist, but after peace, GBCC was established because people in Buchanan were not able to go to Monrovia for school.  Access to education has improved, Onana hopes for the quality of Liberia’s education system to improve even further. Neighboring countries: Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast are currently the best countries in Africa to get the quality education in Onana’s opinion.

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Onana enjoys teaching to primary school children. He has enjoyed working as a contractor for Wahjay-STEM because the lessons within the Wahjay program is about recognizing STEM outside of the classroom. The technical vocational degree that he pursued has not been able to accomplish this. The Wahjay-STEM program had expanded his personal world and has a link to what he has been doing in his civil engineering classes at the GBCC before he went on hiatus. He does plan to go back. As he works with Wahjay during his break, he claims Wahjay-STEM introduces to new concepts about the civil engineering profession. He loves the curriculum, and he enjoys receiving the approval of his students.

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