Monrovia - The state run University of Liberia recently announced increment in tuition and fees at the University, a pronouncement that continues to create public outcries in the wake of the economic constraints facing many Liberians.
The Broad of Trustees of the University announced that the cost of tuition per credit hour previously L$175 will now be US$4 while the for graduate schools that before now paid US$55 per credit hour will now pay US$75. But two position political parties the Congress for Democratic Change and Liberty Party have both spoken against such action by the University. “We as a party categorically reject this irresponsible attempt to put Liberian students out school without a careful consideration of the various implications for society” the CDC indicated in a statement delivered by party Secretary General A. Janga Kowo. According to the CDC no country and no society has turned the corner in making genuine social progress without a massive and radical investment in education. Education is a strategic National Commodity which is inextricably linked to national development. It is about time Government of Liberia and the University authorities begin serious planning about regionalizing the University of Liberia in rural Liberia”, declared the CDC. The party wants the University of Liberia to devolve its operations in several counties around thematic areas such as agriculture, science and engineering, natural sciences, technology. Also the Liberty Party has indicated that its has been drawn to the news of incremental increases in tuition and fees at the state-run University of Liberia from LD$175.00 to US$4.00 per credit hour for undergraduate students and from US$55.00 to US$75.00 for graduate and professional school students. The Liberty Party National Youth Congress expressed vehement opposition to said increase, in the midst of the prevailing economic hardship in the country. “This incremental increase will place an undue hardship on many young Liberians in a society where the vast majority of the young people, and their parents, are confronted with the difficulty of securing employment” the Liberty Party stated. The Liberty party declared that the government has had repeated budgetary shortfalls for more than three fiscal years; thereby preventing it from fully supporting the University of Liberia. Reduce recurrent expenditures The Liberty Party believes that the Government should reduce recurrent expenditure in order to provide more support to the University. “The Liberty Party Youth Congress contends that the most promising solution to this long-standing problem of under-support to the University is for the Executive and Legislative branches of Government to tighten their belts and reduce recurrent expenditures. We suggest that the Government immediately implement strategies to reduce the following expenditures: the substantial salaries of Government officials, gas coupons, scratch cards, procurement of luxury vehicles and unnecessary travel expenses of Government employees. These reductions can subsequently be redirected toward the improvement of the facilities and conditions at the state-run University”, he stated. LP suggested that for the continuance of the peace and tranquility at the University of Liberia in particular and Liberia-at-large, it is cautioning the government through the University of Liberia Administration not to effect any such increase, until there can be improvements in the learning conditions. Stated the Liberty Party: “We are also calling on the student body to remain calm as the Gallant National Youth Congress of the Liberty Party looks forward to collaborating with the student leadership in finding a mutually-beneficial and pragmatic way out of the prevailing situation”. CDC Against MoE’s PPP With the recent proposed plan by the Education Minister George Werner to establish a Public Private Partnership within the education sector, the CDC has however indicated that there were not sufficient consultations to evaluate the cost-benefit analysis of the proposed plan, adding that the National Teachers Association of Liberia has expressed concerns on the lack of consultation for the initiative. According to the CDC Secretary General, the decision taking by the Education Minister to abruptly order the closure of all schools in 2015 by disrupting an ongoing academic year has created a tremendous hardship for parents, scholarship donors and school administrators. “That action by minister Werner threw out more than twenty thousand twelfth Graders, majority of whom have been out of school since the closure are waiting to sit the WEAC examinations with the current twelfth Graders,” the CDC man said. He continues: “Minister Werner must be reminded that Liberia Education management cannot be a trial and error venture. The Education Minister is advised to proceed cautiously as this sector is a multi-stakeholder’s sector which requires extensive consultations on decisions that have far-reaching implications for Liberian children.”