Liberia: Thomas Fallah University Becoming A University of Preferred Choice
MONROVIA – Situated in the densely populated Paynesville district is this gigantic structure name and style the Thomas P. Fallah University. It is a state of the art piece of architecture it is a name given after the CEO a members of the House of Representative Thomas P. Fallah.
The three story structure contains 72 classes with a holding capacity of over five hundred students at a time. The beautifully designed architecture is an emerging higher institution of learning with a capacity to challenge some of the biggest private universities in Monrovia and Liberia at large.
At first sight, you get the good impression of wanting to go to school if you are not or haven’t. Even for people who have left university, the facilities at the T.Five gives that feeling of wanting to return to the classroom especially in such an environment that appears very conducive for learning.
Dr. Samuel Toe, is the man charge with the responsibility to run the college. He is a Liberian and is an Associate Professor in politics and International Political economy at the University of Liberia. He currently runs the international relations program the ‘IBB’ at the University of Liberia. He received his PhD from the School of Politics, Philosophy and Language Studies, at University of East Anglia, UK; and MA in Peace building from the University Of Notre Dame, USA. His PhD dissertation exploited extensive primary archival records on Liberia to examine the concepts of sovereign rent and the Rentier State; challenging popular negative generations about the Rentier State in Africa.
According to him, the university will for the first two years offer ‘AA’ degrees five discipline of studies and that they intent to run five colleges which includes; Agriculture and forestry college, Business and Public Administration college, Engineering and Information technology college, Science and engineering college, Public Health and environmental science college, Education and liberal arts.
“The College is equipped with a science Lab, digital learning environment, spacious classes that are capable of hosting 35 students at a time and my vision is to blend excellent learning with quality,” He said.
His major challenge right now is scouting qualify lecturers or instructor. According to him: “It is difficult to recruit people with the require degrees in a credential scares society like ours but we are doing our best to recruit some of the best minds and if we cannot get them here we will connect with them from far away.”
Source of funding
Since the completion, there has been comments, criticism and perception about the source of the lawmaker funding. Some believe, Thomas Fallah’s source of funding is government money while others believe it is his position as chairman on ways, means and Finance and his influence as a ruling Party lawmaker that has source him the funding. The actual cost of the project hasn’t been establish.
In respond to the many claims and perception about his investment, Representative Fallah told FrontPageAfrica in an interview over the weekend that his source of fund is his businesses some of which he didn’t named. “I have a history of doing business. I may be a politician but I am a business guy, I started up as a wood seller, I was able to build my first house as a plank seller, I bought my first car I have been a business man and I manage my little resource because I am not the flamboyant kind of person.
“We don’t lavish our resources, one of our investment that give birth to this university is the T.Five Academy that has been in existence for more than a decade and has rapidly drew interest from the student population because of our commitment to quality education.
“That school has open corridors for me with banking institutions in addition with my position as a lawmaker and other businesses that I can go to any bank in Liberia and ask for resources for the facility.
“The perception that I have achieved this because I chair the ways means and finance committees and other committee at the House of Represent is wrong. What will you say about the T.Five Academy? There have been people with better opportunities before me. They have served these positions, that committee is made of 15 members I am only chairing, it just how I have manage my resources.”
He also told FPA that the sources of his finances for his investment including the T.Five University has come from loan taken from banks two of which he said are; the Afrikland and GT banks. “I took loan from a lot of banking institutions, Afrikland Bank, GT Bank in fact I am not taking salary for the next six years, all my salary from 2017 to present goes Afrikland bank I have mortgage my entire salary.”
The CEO motivation
Representative Fallah is of the ruling Congress for Democratic change. Since 2005 he has been a lawmaker in Montserrado County District #5. By 2023 he will be ending his third term 18 years in the corridors of the legislature.
Before the dream of opening a University, he own the ‘T.Five Academy’ in the Nezoe Community on the Somalia Drive road, an institution that has existed for over a decade. According to him his motivation to invest into education comes from his struggling background to acquire formal education.
According to the Representative, growing up as a kids with his parents, sending him and his sibling to school was a challenge for his struggling parents who were caught up with the challenge of making choices between ‘making ends-meet’ and sending he and his siblings to school.
He like many of his peers who grew up in the Red-light sugar hill slum community only recreation was spending their time and playing in the ghetto. They saw it as a way of life because that was what most of their elderly folks who they looked after for direction did.
“My story is a sad story like most Liberians. My upbringing was horrible, my parents were struggling, and we had no hope. People who live and grow up in the community I grew up in the sugar hill community were considered street kids as someone from that community you don’t dream big. Most of our days we spent it in the Red-Light market with our parents that was our only source of survivor.
“Even our parents lost hope, they had no means of giving a positive life for us but God has a way of doing things. Most of my peers at the time lost hope, some of them held guns during the civil crisis. I sometime pass by and see some of them they have lost hope.”
“Because of my childhood experience, i thought that as one of the successful few it is befitting that I give back to my community and country to help kids who are currently in the situation I was once in. I want to help struggling parents provide affordable education for their kids.
“During our days it was difficult. All we did was big brother call you in the ghetto, spend our days in the ghetto no one to encourage us to pursue education so this is part of my vision to invest in education in the health sector to in a minimum way buttress National government efforts.”
Not all about profit making but giving back to Society
He dismissed criticism that the University is more of profit making than giving back to society. During the 2020 Senatorial elections when he was the candidate brought forward to defeat the now Montserrado County Senator Darius Dillon by the ruling CDC, his supporters used the University as some of the reasons why the people of Montserrado County should entrust him with their vote but that didn’t seem to convince the electorates enough.
He believe, People should be celebrating every Liberian who will invest in the Education and Health sector because according to him those are investment that are more than making profit but as a way of giving back to society.