Liberia: Lofa Community College Lecturers Go Slow Over Salary Delays
Voinjama, Lofa County – Students who arrived at the Lofa County Community College early Monday morning for classes were left in utter shock and dismay as their lecturers failed to show up without any prior notice.
The teachers had begun a go-slow action. Among other things, they want their salaries for October and November paid. They also want their housing allowances reinstated and a comprehensive audit of financial transactions of the college covering the last three years.
In a one page resolution addressed to the college administration and the board, the aggrieved lecturers said the protest was their last resort. They claimed they had engaged the administration about their plight but to no avail.
In a resolution signed by the teachers, they called on the administration to take several actions before they resume instructions.
They want “teachers wards be returned to them; housing allowances be re-instated; funds be allocated as research allowance to facilitate our teaching process; those who have obtained their Master Degrees get their full Master salaries; there be a uniform salary structures for instructors with the same qualifications and that the issue of indiscriminate cutting of our salaries be addressed”.
The teachers also want the college administration to “ensure that October and November salaries are paid 100% and the balance of September, which is the Liberian Dollars component and; that a comprehensive forensic audit is carried out on all financial transactions by the administration for the last two to three years by competent external auditor”.
The go-slow staged by the aggrieved lecturers only brings to public visibility the numerous challenges the Lofa County Community College is faced with in recent times.
Already, the college has suffered drastic budget cuts from national government; coupled with President Weah’s Tuition-Free Education Policy has seen the college raised no money to complement the budgetary support by under writing costs for operational functions.
Power supply to run offices is only available few hours a day owing to fuel burden, very insufficient sitting capacity for students, which causes students to rush for the limited chairs available for classrooms.
Meanwhile, a renowned student activist, Martin K. N. Kollie, whose activism cuts across the country says “students of the Lofa County Community College deserve to be in school. The demands of the faculty and support staff must be met. No country makes progress when national leaders devalue the power of education”.
Kollie criticized the President’s tuition-free policy terming it as an additional burden to public institutions.
“The government has neglected its statutory responsibility to provide access to education. President Weah is yet to fulfill his knee-jerk tuition-free promise. This policy has failed and added additional burden to public institutions,” said Kollie.