PUL Prexy Bemoans Plight Of Varsity Teachers -Calls for Better Salaries, Welfare

The President of the Press Union of Liberia, Mr. Charles Coffey, Jr has lamented the plights of the teaching staff at the University of Liberia relative to the low salaries being paid to them and the other not encouraging welfare packages accorded which has serious eroded a conducive learning atmosphere and called on authorities concerned to improve the current conditions of service so as to provide quality education, develop Liberia’s human resource to maintain the country’s sovereignty.

Mr. Coffey made the statement when he delivered the Keynote address at the University of Liberia Faculty Association Day Program held on Saturday, March 26, 2022 on the Campus of the University.

He noted that in comparison to the salaries, benefits and other remuneration received by university teachers across the West African region, those being paid to staff, faculty, department chairpersons, deans and other administrators are far below the belt.

“Instability in faculty remuneration is of relevance to academic development and societal growth. Despite efforts being exerted by ULFA, Staff, and other professors at the UL to provide quality education, develop Liberia’s human resource to maintain Liberia’s sovereignty, low salary, benefits and other remunerations continue to undermine faculty ability to do more, as required.

“Perhaps, the government is doing little to fully address the welfare and needs of the faculty. University of Liberia faculty salaries are very negligible as compared to state university workers in most countries of the world”, he said.

Mr. Coffey said that though the university job is productive but perhaps, it is not dependable because employees’ salaries are low and they hardly get salary on time and attributed to perhaps since UL is a state run institution, sometimes politics takes its course and employees spend a long time before getting salary. He added that in some cases, faculty will stage a go- slow action before getting some portion of their salaries and other benefits.

“This is unfair and it has the proclivity to demotivate the faculty members who usually work as a team in their various departments. These sorts of conditions can undermine academic gains and dehumanize university professors, lecturers and other workers.

“This low salary issue is also creating a psychological problem for many professors and lecturers at the University of Liberia. Due to the no money syndrome, some faculty members do not have vehicles and they normally stand by the road side or commercial vehicles to get to their final destination”, he stated.

The head of the media fraternity in the country painted a humiliating picture of a government official who is an undergraduate student driving between $50,000.00 to $75,000.00 car and a lecturer whose guidance the student is under lacked a vehicle.

“So, let the government institute measures that will enable state university lecturers to meet their needs, including getting vehicle loans to ease their transportation problem. Let me hail ULFA for impacting knowledge despite the unfavorable working environment”, he said.

Mr. Coffey lauded the teachers for the passion they have for the job which has made them to effectively and efficiently ensure deliverables despite the difficulties they go through. He said perhaps what has driven them to achieve such a feat is that the chairpersons of the various departments are cooperative and maximize their humanitarian skills resulting in their staff to like the job.

In order to revert the challenges affecting the standard of learning occasioned by the poor conditions of service provided the teachers, Mr. Coffey called on the government of Liberia to design new salary and benefit scheme for lecturers, or faculty, administrators and other staff of the university, stressing that a well-designed salary structure allows administrators to reward performance and skills development while controlling the overall base salary cost by providing a cap on the range  paid  for particular jobs.

Earlier in his speech, Mr. Coffey had exalted the field academia which he said is highly research and discovery focused, being intense, stimulating and rewarding nature, creates a compelling need for academics to usually tackle and resolve bigger problems that can have a lasting effect on society.

He noted that academia has a critical role to prepare young people for the future, and serve the society in improving quality of life through research and that faculty members are the backbone behind this process

Mr. Coffey who had also extolled he partnership between the PUL and the ULFA said that  too many tasks at once are attributed to academia, adding that nowadays academician has to be a good lecturer, good-adviser of a student, systematic discussant, technical works writer, administrator, development proposal writer, good project implementer, market developer, mass media participant, etc.

“Faculty as scholars conduct research which is the most valuable instrument to understand the complexities of a problem, disapprove lies, and sustain reality and build on to create knowledge that is reliable and authentic, thus developing a better understanding and enhancing decision-making capabilities.

“Unlike most journalistic stories or blogs, academic studies are the product of months or years of work; they can include analysis of large sets of materials. So faculty members or researchers spent a lot of resources including time for full discovery of a situation of national concern.

“Therefore, there is no doubt that harnessing the gains of academia, through community engagement will greatly increase social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts. As education is a key part of a society’s growth and progress”, he said.

In conclusion, he re-emphasized that the Liberian government must examine the current salary structure of the University of Liberia to motivate and attract qualified employees to perform effectively and efficiently, adding that the government pay lecturers, university workers well and allow them to fall in love with academia, once again so that the society will follow.

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