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Student leader kicks against new tuition policy

Students at Tubman University reject a prepaid 40% tuition policy introduced by the administration, lamenting economic hardship.

By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County.

Maryland, Liberia, June 4, 2024 –Days after the administration of William V. S. Tubman University in Maryland County announced a 40% tuition policy, students are protesting the policy, which they say does not align with the current economic reality in the southeast county.

 The campus-based Student Unification Alliance (SUA) is asking the Administration to reconsider its recent tuition policy, as it does not align with their current economic challenges. The Student Alliance also warns the Superintendent of Maryland County against facilitating illegal mining activities.

In a press release issued on June 2, 2024, the chairman of SUA, Paul PK Juju Blayon, admonished all student militants, cadres, solidarity forces, and the entire student populace on campus to remain vigilant and civil as they engage the issue with the administration.

He said that Tubman University’s tuition policy, which requires all students to fulfill 40% financial obligations before sitting in class at the start of a semester, 30% payment before writing mid-term, and 30% before writing final exam, is dissuading and will negatively impact the majority of students pursuing tertiary education.

Chairman Blayon perceives that this decision may spark outrage among students and their families, potentially abandoning the academic sojourn of suffering students at the University.

He said that given that the economic situation in Liberia under President Boakia is already challenging, with many families struggling to make ends meet and provide for their siblings, such a policy has a proclivity to put a strain on students and their families who would have to bear the economic burden and lamentation as the result of hardship imposed on ordinary citizens.

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He decries that most university students are from low-income backgrounds and cannot afford to pay tuition at the beginning of a semester.

 Instead, they depend on financial aid and proceeds from the parents’ gardens that animals and pets are embattling to pay their debts, so said policy will make it increasingly difficult for them to continue their education and may even force some to drop out of college.

According to the student leader, although they understand the University is beset with financial constraints and needs to generate revenue, implementing a policy that hurts students should not be a solution or an alternative.

“We urge Dr. Olu Menjay, President of the University, to find the most suitable means to generate income for Tubman University, such as seeking partnerships and grants, rather than transient the burden on students,” Student Blayon said.

He indicated that education is a fundamental human right for all, and as a government-owned and operated institution, Tubman University has a non-negligible responsibility to make it accessible and affordable for all students, regardless of their economic status.

He pointed out that though the university’s students have acknowledged Dr. Menjay’s hard work to rebrand Tubman University for quality and excellence, implementing such a policy will do more harm to the university than good. He noted that such a tuition policy goes against the right to free education in Liberia and will hinder the country’s progress and development by denying education to those who cannot afford it.

He cautioned the Administration to consider the financial strain students face and work towards implementing a more affordable, equitable, and sustainable solution that does not impose financial suffering on them. 

At the same time, the Students Unification Alliance is warning Maryland County Superintendent Henry Cole and the county’s local administration against facilitating illegal mining activities. 

The release says that in the wake of a series of illegal mining activities in Gbeken, Maryland County Electoral District #3, which Superintendent Cole is allegedly aware of, SUA remains steadfast, resolute, and consistent in bringing to book big hands who have allegedly been pocketed by ‘black dealing companies’ to bring hardship on ordinary people.

The ongoing illegal mining activities in Gbeken, electoral district #3, Maryland County, by a mining company identified as SOAR Mining Company was brought to citizens’ attention following a recent publication by the NEW DAWN.

The illicit mining by Chinese nationals pose serious threat to people living in that part of the country and also violates the Mineral and Mining Laws of Liberia.

Chairman Blayon called on the government through the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to intervene promptly. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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