Liberian Students in Morocco Yet to Receive Allowances from Government
MONROVIA – It’s been over a week since the Director of Scholarship at the Ministry of Education, Theohilus Snorton, Sr. told journalists in Monrovia that the Ministry was making frantic efforts pay the arrears of Liberian students stranded in Morocco, however, the deserted students say they’ve seen no sign of the Liberian Government living up to its commitment.
Mr. Snorton last week admitted owing nine months arrears due the students for their upkeep which include their rent, transportation, feeding and other accessories. He, however, said, the Ministry was prepared to pay at least two quarters which would have covered six months’ arrears. The government usually paid their allowances quarterly.
“It’s extremely sad that this government has been able to deceive the media. Firstly, government told us after media engagements that they will not pay two quarters anymore, but they can only afford one quarter. Now, we have been informed by the government that there’s no fund available. Therefore, it’s the tenth month now, and we have not received anything from them. Unfortunately, things continue to get worst on the students,” said John Saylay Singbae II, a student leader in Morocco.
Several efforts to verify this information with Mr. Snorton did not materialize. However, a source at the Education Ministry said the Ministry is still waiting for the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to disburse the fund to be sent overseas to the students. The Education Ministry has no control over the disbursement of the fund.
Scholarship Director Snorton told FrontPageAfrica on July 9, that the Ministry of Finance had promised to disburse a check for the two quarterly arrears the following day.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Director of Communications, Patience Senkpeni Kumeh did not answer or return calls for comment. Last week, she informed FPA that the payment was in progress.
This paper published on July 10 that some Liberian scholarship students studying in Morocco had reported on social media that that they are financially stranded and are suffering. They accused the Liberia Government of not sending their allowances after several pleads to the Ministries of Education and Finance.
When student leader Singbae spoke to this paper last week, he pointed out that there were students sent since 2013 and they are currently doing master’s program.
Seven students who performed extraordinary in the WASSCE exam, are among the students sent last November. Currently, there is a total number of 84 students on government’s scholarship in Morocco.
They are sent under a Memorandum of Understanding that government will pay them monthly allowances quarterly, until the completion of their studies, and upon their return to Liberia, they will serve in various government entities.
“As I speak to you, old students have been thrown out of their apartments and cannot even afford transportation to attend classes, or least I say pay bills. The new batch of 54 students, including the WASSCE dux cannot afford to start classes because they have no money to rent apartments, pay bills, transport themselves to school, purchase school materials or leave to the cities they have been assigned to study. We are experiencing sad times, and this is the hard truth,” Singbae II said.