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Students protest at Capitol

By Kruah Thompson 

Members of the campus-based progressive student alliance party (PROSA) at the University of Liberia (UL) have protested at the Capitol, petitioning the 54th Legislature to enact into law the National Equity Bill that was introduced before the Legislature on the 14th of January 2021 by Montserrado County District #5 Representative Thomas P. Fallah.

The Bill seeks a special education fund to support and sustain the Free Tuition program at the University of Liberia and in all public universities and colleges in the country, including WASSCE fees for both ninth and twelfth graders.

According to PROSA, since the Act was submitted to the House of Representatives last year, it has faced a ‘snail-paced’ proceeding. 

“Since this communication was sent from the Montserrado County Lawmaker to the Committees on Education and Ways, Means and Finance to conduct a financial impact analysis and report to Plenary in two weeks, the committee is yet to come up with said analysis. Thereby making it approximately one year since its introduction.” 

Presenting their petition to Senator Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence on the grounds of the Capitol on Thursday, September 8, 2022, the chairman of PROSA, Heylove Mark stressed that when enacted, the bill will mitigate current economic inequality by increasing college enrollment and reduce pressure on students and struggling, parents.

He said that WASSCE fee payment for both private and public-school students will help to reduce financial burden on already poverty-stricken parents and increase senior high enrollment throughout Liberia.

However, Student Mark indicated that delay in the passage of the bill is deliberate. 

“PROSA as a revolutionary institution will not rest in pursuing this fight as it was initiated many years back and we are calling for an unconditional passage into law of the free tuition and WASSCE policy to reduce economic burdens on our parents and students.”

He maintained that campus-based institutions are committed to sustaining the debate until the bill becomes a law and that they will never run out of calories until it is so.

The students took the street in their number, obstructing free flow of traffic in front of the University of Liberia, as they requested the Liberian Senate to receive their petition.

In their resolve they jumped over the fence of the Capitol and forcibly entered the premises, forcing police to open the main entrance of the Capitol building to allow them access.

The students chanted battle cry against US$30,000 received by each member of the House of Representatives, lamenting those elected officials do not have the country at heart.

“We are worried about the nefarious decision of the legislature to pass into law what they refer to as Integrated Pension and Benefits Scheme of 2022”. 

They pointed to massive unemployment in the country with most ordinary citizens living on less than a dollar.

“PROSA believes this bill does not represent the collective views and interest of the Liberia people and as such, those Lawmakers must rethink their decision or face unspecified consequences as we drive towards 2023,” Student Mark warned.

The proposed law derived from the Senate seeks to have Lawmakers on Capitol Hill receive 50 percent of their salaries, even if they are voted out of office, and should be extended to their immediate families after death.

“This bill is not only useless, anti-pedagogical but also a clear violation of democracy and the theory of equal work for equal pay “, the student leader said. Editing by Jonathan Browne

NewDawn

The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).

One Comment

  1. Theses are advocacy we need in the youth and student community. PROSA is actually rebranding student’s politics. Thanks for the story.

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