MONROVIA – Liberian students in China who have been awarded the 2023 Chinese Government Scholarship under the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) are appealing to the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Ministry of Finance Development and Planning (MFDP) to fulfill the airfare reimbursement commitment outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Education (MOE).
According to our sources, a group of at least 20 students, who met the criteria for the 2023 CSC scholarship, were initially promised an amount of US$1,500 each to cover the cost of their flight tickets to China.
Our source further disclosed that on August 12, 2023, Education Minister Professor Ansu Soni, during a meeting, informed the scholarship recipients that they would need to finance their own travel expenses and would be reimbursed through the Liberian Embassy in China in mid-September 2023. This delay was attributed to the internal control system in place for disbursing funds at the Ministry of Finance. However, as one of the students stated, “Since August, we have yet to know what is happening with our refund.”
When approached by FrontPageAfrica (FPA), the students expressed profound disappointment in the lack of response from the MOE regarding the status of their reimbursement.
“Some of us had no choice but to take out loans with interest and use our valuable possessions as collateral because our departure was scheduled for August, with the understanding that the promised funds would be available within a limited timeframe,” one student explained.
In the meantime, their family members back home have been under immense pressure due to the repayment plans made with creditors, creating a stressful situation for the students.
They went on to say, “We have had to cut into the stipend provided by the Chinese Government to support ourselves and send money back home for debt payments. This has left us in the position of seeking assistance from fellow foreign students to make ends meet.”