The Administration of the University of Liberia and the student populace of the state-run institution should collaborate in addressing the repeated protest at the University over registration timetable at the start of each semester, which has always disrupted normal academic activities, particularly in the undergraduate programs.
In the last six years or more, students, including freshmen pursuing studies in various disciplines within the undergraduate colleges have been unable to complete registration process within the stipulated timeframe set by administration, resulting to protest in demand for extension of the exercise to enable all students to register.
But what we don’t understand is why does this problem exist at the start of every semester? Is it that the UL administration underestimates or ignores the student population expected to enroll at the beginning of the semester, particularly when it is admitting thousands of freshmen students like in this current case?
Some estimates put the student enrollment at the UL at more than 20,000 besides in-coming freshmen students. So, if the administration were cognizant of this population, while admitting new students, including those seeking re-admission, it would be prudent that it should set the timeframe for registration in such a way to accommodate all.
If you set registration for one month or less for 30,000 students in a semester, it could lead to chaos, giving the capacity of those conducting the process and students’ financial ability to register within such timeframe.
As we are all aware, more than half of the student population on campus relies on scholarships to enroll each semester, with the major scholarships donor being the campus-based student government, the University of Liberia Student Union or ULSU, which solicits funding from multiple sources, including launch of fund drive to raise substantial money in order to accommodate beneficiaries.
This is in addition to scholarships coming from the various political sub-divisions, targeting students from specific regions or counties as well as philanthropists and other benefactors. But payment of scholarship funds in time to enable beneficiaries to register within the administration’s prescribed timetable has always been a problem, something which the UL administration is fully cognizant of.
So, it is our thought that those in administration responsible for academic calendar, particularly the period for registration would make reasonable allowance or take into consideration all these factors and come out with tentative period, gauging the inflow of students before setting deadlines.
For instance, ULSU, the student government remains a major stakeholder in the student-administration relationship on campus, and should never be left out in the process of deriving at any decision that would directly affect the student body as in this case.
On the other hand, the UL administration needs to monitor the performance of those staff handling the registration procedure, including commercial banks it is in partnership with. Students are complaining that staffs manning the Electronic Data Processing or EDP program open fewer windows for the thousands of students going to register thus, slowing the process and making students unable to meet deadlines set. Both administration and the student population are not mutually exclusive in the endeavor to maintaining a conducive learning environment on campus.