Senate President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah is opposed to the recent tuition increase announced at the State-run University Liberia, which according to him is untimely. The increment has been endorsed by the UL Board of Trustees, and the statement, announcing the decision was read on campus last week by the Acting Chairperson for the Board, Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor of Bong County.
Pro-Tempore Jallah in an interview with this paper said, taking into account the current economic hardship coupled with high unemployment in Liberia, the increment from LD175 to US$4.00 per credit hour is just not timely for students at the UL, who are struggling to prepare themselves academically for the future.
He appealed to the students, who are against the increment, not to engage in any form of violence, promising to take the matter to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to see what could be done to ease the situation.
He stressed that violence such as protest or demonstration cannot help the situation, but peaceful dialogue with the University of Liberia Administration.
Senator Jallah proposed that if at all the increment is must, it should be done on a gradual basis rather than raising the bar so high, noting that the increment is a threatening factor that could kick many of young people out of school.
He said the leadership at the Liberian Senate will seriously lobby with the House of Representatives to make some significant increment in the national budgetary for the UL during the midterm 2015/16 national budget.
He added that with such increment accepted by all relevant institutions, the Dr. Emmet Dennis administration may have enough for the full operation of the nation´s only highest institution of learning.
Meanwhile, the campus-based Student Unification Party said it is dismay over the increment from L$175 per credit to US$4.00 per credit hour for undergraduate level and US$55.00 to US$75.00 for graduate and professional schools.
SUP said the ill-omened decision is not only unjustifiable, but an act of provocation. “We consider this defenseless decision taken by the university in cohort with national government as a declaration of war on the student community. Please do not provoke thousands of struggling students to anger. We understand that the intent of this regime is to keep us in ignorance and illiteracy, but we refuse to accept that we were created to always be at the bottom. The University of Liberia is not a profit making entity or public enterprise. If you want to make profit we encourage you to go to the National Oil Company of Liberia, Maritime Authority, the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company and Freeport of Monrovia, among others”, SUP President Jerome Dangbuah, said.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Jonathan Browne