-While It Decries Weah’s ‘Free Tuition”; Sinks Financially
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
The administration of the state-run University of Liberia has told the Senate committee on Education and Public Administration that the University is currently running at a deficit due to the delay in receipt of the free tuition intervention by President George Weah.
It can be recalled that President Weah sometimes last year made a pronouncement of free tuition for undergraduate at all public Universities within the country.
This pronouncement by President Weah was greeted with mixed reactions by citizens across the country.
This revelation by the UL administration was contained in a report filed by the Senate Committee on Education and public Administration to the plenary of the Liberian Senate which was read in open plenary on Thursday, May 9, 2019 following a hearing conducted by the committee on the matter in which the UL administration was invited.
“It was averred during the interactions with University of Liberia administration that the University is currently running at a deficit due to the delay in receipt of the tuition free intervention,” the committee report noted
The report further quoted the UL administration as saying that due to this pronouncement by the Liberian leader and the delay in the payment, the University is currently in huge financial deficit, something she said is impeding the smooth running of the state-owned University.
According to Senate Committee on Education headed by River Cess County Senator, Dallas Gueh, his committee was also informed by the UL administration headed by Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks that the Ministry of State contacted the University to discuss the annual cost of the proposed subsidy.
The UL president furthered in her testimony to the Senate Committee that the UL informed authorities of the Ministry of State and subsequently the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) that currently the proposed subsidy would cost the government US$2,880,000.00 annually.
However, the committee’s findings revealed among other things that there was no consultation with the management of the University before the pronouncement was made and that since the pronouncement, no policy, guidelines or strategy have been developed or presented to the UL administration.
Meanwhile, the administration told the plenary of the Liberian Senate that due to the testimony from the UL administration, the committee should again be given the mandate to invite the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to continue the engagement.