-Against L$5,000 Flat Rate; As Gov’t Yet To Remit 50% Of Annual Budget Of US$16.2m
By R. Joyclyn Wea
The vanguard Students Unification Party at the University of Liberia (SUP) has threatened to stand against any form of increment from L$1,605.00 to L$5,000.00 as flat rate on fees by the school’s administration.
According to the student group, it intelligence bureau has reliably learned about a premature plan being hatched by UL administration to unjustifiably impose additional fees on students and cut the salaries and allowances of lecturers and professors as a result of President George Weah’s ‘flagrant inability’ to fulfill his politically-driven “tuition-free education” promise which is seriously impeding the smooth operations of the state-run university.
Speaking recently on the university’s campus on Capitol Hill, SUP Chairman, Carlos Tingban Edison said his party will vehemently oppose any devilish plan design to financially overburden economically-challenged students and underpaid lecturers of the state-run University.
Carlos furthered that students and lecturers must not and will not shoulder the responsibility of the ill-advised and ill-fated promise of “tuition-free education” made by President George Weah in October 2018 saying “SUP will resist any reversal of such promise. “President Weah must pay for what he promised or risks bearing the consequences thereof.”
He bewailed “SUP will resolutely stand against any form of increment from L$1,605.00 to LRD$5,000.00 flat rate. Let the administration be warned not to trek this slippery slope because such futile attempt could backfire and create a fertile ground for mass provocation and protest even before June 7 and beyond.”
It has been reported that since the “tuition-free education” pronouncement by President George Weah, the government is yet to remit or transfer fifty percent of the university annual budget put at US$16.2 million even though the fiscal year 2018/2019 is nearing completion by June 30, 2019.
As a result of this, the University of Liberia and other government colleges across Liberia are facing serious challenged in term of salaries or allowances, electricity, internet connectivity among other materials to smoothly operate.
SUP is calling on President Weah to prioritize education and abandon his wealth-seeking spree as such egocentric endeavor is mindboggling and unpatriotic.
“The government must find money to fund the university because such statutory onus is upon it to do so according to the 1952 chapter that created the state-run institution saying “Anything less than this, the Weah-led government will fully account for the future of over nineteen thousand students. SUP demand quality education and cautions Weah to refrain from politicizing or rhetorizing
education,” Edison said.
“There has been continuous delay in the payment of salaries or allowances, no money to buy fuel and hire private buses to commute students and lecturers. Bathrooms are closed, no stationary, no electricity, classrooms remain hostile for learning. No internet connectivity, no functional clinic, no safe drinking water etc.”
“It has become an unchallenged reality that the learning condition or environment at the state-run university is fast declining since the ascendancy of President Weah. The party is very concern about thousands of students who are yet to complete their registration process because the new registration system (Mwetana) has some limitation and faults/ the students cannot be blamed for this mishap.”
Accordingly, SUP calls on UL’s administration to fast-track the registration of all students and immediately refund the money paid by over 2,500 students before President Weah pronouncement of “tuition-free education” policy.