Extend Free Education to All

-Girls Alliance for Future Leadership Requests Govt.

In the wake of recent pronouncement of a tuition-freed undergraduate education for all Liberians by President George Manneh Weah, a group of teenagers under the canopy of “Girls Alliance for Future Leadership” has requested the government to extend similar opportunity of free and compulsory primary education to all schools, including primary school across Liberia.

In a press release quoting a letter to the president Faith Smith Secretary General of Girls Alliance lauded President Weah for fulfilling his prior promise of making education his number one priority agenda, but called for the extension of similar gesture to Liberian children by making primary education free and compulsory in all schools across Liberia.

Faith Smith in the letter said, “While we celebrate such a huge relief handed to all Liberians, we are also concerned that our voices since June of this year are yet to be heard by your office”. Ms. Smith claimed that on June 16, 2018, during the celebration of the Day of the African Child, Girls Alliance led a group of student to Capitol Hill and presented a petition to the national Legislature through House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers and Senate pro-temp Albert Chie, and the Executive branch through Vice president Chief Jewel Howard Taylor for similar opportunity, requesting for free and compulsory primary education in all schools across Liberia.

Ms. Smith said since then two television Stations, Sky and power, have consistently run free promos on the request, adding that the speaker and the president pro-temp have spoken favorable to them on the petition, but they are yet to present it to their various chambers.

The Advocacy Officer and Secretary General of the Girls Alliance for Future Leadership said the office of the Vice president since June is yet to respond or grant them audience on their petition.

“We are therefore appealing to you Mr. President to please consider our situation and grant the children of Liberia similar opportunity, she said. We are the future of this country,” Ms Smith added.

On June 16, 2018 the teenage based group called for the government of Liberia Free and Compulsory primary education for government school launched under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration to be extended to all schools in the country.

The Girls Alliance in a petition to the government said free and compulsory primary education in all schools across Liberia was the surest way of bringing recovery to the education sector. The group argued that relieving their parents of such financial burden will put them in better position to save for their kids’ college education, the Advocacy Officer and Secretary General of the Girls Alliance concluded.

The position of the Girls Alliance for Future Leadership is in reaction to the policy statement issued by President George Weah granting tuition-freed education to all public undergraduate universities

Although the government’s free education policy did not cover primary, elementary and secondary schools, the President and visitor of the University of Liberia, President Weah who requested students to take advantage of this opportunity granted them.

He highlight the challenges of the University of Liberia which has been the source of public protests nearly all of the time, saying that his interest in the development of not only physical capital but also human capital both of whom are interlinked has led to the policy.

At the moment, Liberia is currently short of engineers, specialists, technicians, and scientists in various fields of study, something the President hopes his latest move would fill in the great human capacity void currently being experienced by his country.

The University of Liberia, formerly Liberia College, has been facing multiple challenges from year in year out. Among other things, the school lacks standard library and laboratory technicians, modern lab equipment and other essential materials, including inadequate financial support, as well endless human resource gaps, factors which often create stalemates on the main campus, especially when students take to the streets in demand of better learning environment.

Until recently when the ‘Eportal’ online registration platform was introduced and inaugurated by President Weah, the University of Liberia, a school with an enrollment of more than 35,000 students, manually registered students for every semester, a situation which often resorted to students forming long queues, and in most times, leading to protests against the University’s administration. In the midst of these challenges,    President Weah’s latest pronouncement may just be the right answer coming at this right time, as he repeatedly tries to remedy the University of Liberia’s cumbersome problems in one big basket.

Accordingly, hundreds of students of the state run university, the University of Liberia (UL), yesterday took to the school’s pavements in colorful celebration as President George Manneh Weah announced tuition-free courses at all undergraduate public tertiary institutions across the country, including the UL.

The pronouncement by the President is seen as a major boost to the highly publicized pro-poor agenda of the government as the move generated a honey tale characterized by pomp and pageantry amongst students and bystanders as well as other Liberians of radio land.

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