Lonestar Cell MTN, Liberia’s leading Mobile Telecommunication Company in partnership with the Government of Liberia has launched mobile tuition payment scheme for students in Monrovia and its environs, the first ever in the country.
The company is in direct partnership with the Ministry of Education in carrying out the scheme that aimed at easing stress faced by students standing in long queues at commercial banks to pay tuition.
Launched here Thursday, 9 August at the Ministry of Education the promotion comes just at a time schools across the country are expected to open on 3 September for academic 2018/2019 in line with official schedule from the ministry.
The telecommunication giant says the launch of the tuition payment thru Mobile Money service will ease tension faced by parents, guardians, and even students.
Giving details on the project, Deputy Education Minister for Administration Latim Da-thong says, Liberia has certain capacity in terms of Information Communication Technology or ICT.
“We believe that we can effectively improve education and turn the corner as fast as possible if we incorporate information technology in lot of our processes”, he suggests.
Minister Da-thong says several reforms have been made in incorporating ICT, including the launch of the latest promotion. According to him, the partnership with Lonestar Cell MTN will address several issues, including Accessibility and Availability.
He notes the traditional method of paying school fees has always been standing in queues at banks, but this partnership would help address such inconvenience, noting, “A student or parent can sit home and just register with Lonestar mobile money, they can easily pay their fees, avoiding long queue.”
“This modern intervention in our school system will speed up registration at the public schools level especially, from 10th to 12th grade.”The Deputy Minister continues that mobile money service is not strange to the public, citing instance of it being used at the Liberia Revenue Authority or LRA.
He says people are now using the same scheme to pay taxes at LRA, and families are also using it to send money to relatives across the country.“We strongly believe that at the end of this mobile money registration process, we can adequately identify how many students in high school from 10th to 12th grade in the public schools across this country.”
Speaking on behalf of Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile Money Manager Attorney Massa Dennis, Mr. Prince Chesson says Thursday’s launch proves beyond all doubts that they are the best in the country in terms of GSM and mobile financial services.
He says discussions that led to launching the payment scheme started several months ago in line with President George Manneh Weah’s vision about focusing on technology as mentioned in his inaugural address in January, 2017.
“We cannot move forward if we do not digitize our services”, he stresses and adds that neighboring countries in the region were far ahead of Liberia.He discloses that Lonestar Cell MTN has put in place a system that would allow school officials sit in their respective offices and monitor students enrollment, saying one exciting thing about the project, is that it comes at no transaction cost to end users.
“If you are paying your school fees, you the subscriber won’t be charged; this is something that must cause you to register for mobile money to avoid charges by agents.”
Deputy Lonestar Cell MTN CEO Laureine Guilao says, the company is very excited in launching the project in partnership with the government, for it will enhance student’s registration process.
“We want to impact the lives of Liberians, and this one is important to us because we all know the importance of education, and lets us continue to work together to impact lives across this country”, Laureine urges.
The Minister of Education Professor Ansu Dao Sonii, launching the project alongside Deputy Lonestar Cell CEO Laureine Guilao expresses delight over the initiative.
Minister Sonii notes that technology changes day by day, and digitization is taking over so he is delighted for the partnership with Lonestar Cell MTN because it would help students across the country.
“This project will begin to utilize services that are helpful to our students especially, public schools; we come not just to launch but to thank the Lonestar Cell family, and to tell them that we all are in it together”, says the Minister.
Meanwhile, Assistant Education Minister for Fiscal Affairs, James Armah Massaquoi, notes the partnership will provide transparency and accuracy in the discharge of education administration besides being a technical innovation that allows high school students attending public schools to carry on registration process, using mobile money.
Our only hope is that this partnership will help the education sector to settle for improvement, in all areas to the Liberian people under the leadership of the Minister and his team that are here”, he concludes.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne