Liberia: Bong Community College ‘Struggles’ To Get Gov’t Funding
Gbarnga, Bong County – President George Weah’s decision last year declaring free tuition for undergraduate students at all public universities and colleges in the country is hurting the operations of the Bong County Technical College.
Said President Weah: “The increasing cost of education in Liberia leading to no-enrollment, non-attendance and frequent drop-outs is becoming counter-productive to our development goals. I believe, therefore, that the time has come to take bold initiatives and make direct social interventions to address this problem.”
“I therefore wish to declare a tuition-free for all undergraduate students at the University of Liberia as well as all other public universities in Liberia.”
With a new semester expected to begin next month, the president of the BTCC Dr. Roland Massaquoi says the school is yet to receive funding from government.
Dr. Massaquoi said money collected from students in the past semesters was directed towards the purchase of fuel for the generator, stationeries and other essential items to run the institution.
Dr. Massaquoi said since the waiver of tuition by the president, the institution has been struggling to operate.
“We don’t have money to run the institution. Things have become tough for us as a university since President Weah announced the free tuition, “he said.
In a communication dated February 28, 2019 written to the Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweah, in the possession of FrontPageAfrica, the BCTC administration writes:
The Bong County Technical College
Gboveh Hill Community
Gbarnga, Bong County
Republic of Liberia
February 28, 2019
Dear Honorable Tweah:
The administration of the BCTC presents compliments. We write concerning the submission of specific information on enrollment and attendants costs through you to the Government of Liberia.
The information as summarized below is the detailed and in the attachment of this letter:
.The cost per credit hour at BCTC is US$5.00 (five United States dollars). The total credits taken by all students is 12,071(twelve thousand seventy one) which costs a total amount of $60, 355 (sixty thousand three hundred fifty five United States dollars) for tuition;
. The total registration and activity fees is US 75, 00 (seventy five United States dollars) per student. The total enrollment for the current semester stands at 856 students. The total cost of fees is US$ 64,200.
Please note that the budgetary allocation initially set at approximately 980, 000, 00 USD for BCTC was reduced by more than twenty percent (20%) to 780, 000, 00. This process poses serious constraints on our ability to recruit the level of suitably qualified faculty required and to provide facilities such as equipped laboratories, internet connectivity, fuel and lubricant and educational supplies. At present, our annual appropriation or subsidy for goods and services is $62, 000, 00 or 5,166.66 USD per month, an amount which is very low. We therefore operate as a crisis management team to ensure that students’ expectations are underpinned and partially met.
We are reminded of the commitment made by President Weah on this and his recent visit at the BCTC but we have been told that something might be done in the next budget year with emphasis on the completion of the building.
Roland C.Y. Massaquoi, Ph. D
Staffs Rally To buy Fuel
According to Dr. Massaquoi, staffs of the college usually rally to procure fuel for the generator because they haven’t received a dime from government.
“We can’t continue to sit and wait for government. Things are tough on us so we collect money from staffs to buy fuel to run our offices,” he said.
Dr. Massaquoi said if nothing is done by the government to address constraints faced by the college it could pose serious problems to the administration and students when the next academic year commences.
“There are some courses we teach in the night. How do we teach those courses in the absence of electricity?”