Twenty-five Liberian students in Egypt have appealed to the Ministry of Education and the Inter-Ministerial Scholarship Committee at the Civil Service Agency (CSA) to restore their allowances which were cut off in 2011.
The secretary general of the Liberia Student Union in Egypt, Fuad F. Nyei, sent a letter of appeal to Mr. Othello K. Weh, Deputy Director General of the CSA who forwarded it to his boss, CSA Director General George K. Werner.
The letter said since 2011, all attempts to get their allowances restored have been to no avail.
“GOL and the Ministry of Education through its Scholarships Department and the Inter-Ministerial Scholarship Committee have failed to respond to their appeal,” the student SG said in the letter.
The 25 students earned the scholarship through the Ministry of Education and were vetted by both GOL and the Egyptian Embassy in Monrovia to undertake undergraduate studies at Egyptian universities in Cairo, in 2011.
Mr. Weh, on receiving the letter, expressed surprise at the students’ plight and responded: “I know that the situation you described in your letter is very critical, but it is above my level. What I am going to do is to forward your mail to my boss, Honorable Werner, as well as members of the committee. I think he’s the right person to speak on this issue.”
The students’ letter had said, “In view of the aforementioned terrible conditions and wanton sufferings, we the students, are therefore calling for your urgent intervention as a patriotic Liberian to help bring to an end these appalling and critical conditions of Liberian students in a foreign land.”
The students said they were pursuing means of transferring to the requisite fields of studies, which included engineering, medicine, computer science, among others, according to the terms of the scholarship agreed on between Liberia and Egypt. However the severance of their allowances has resulted to endless suffering and lack of progress, educationally, morally, socially and medically, they contended.
In his response, Director Werner reminded the students that the program in Egypt was evaluated and decisions made concerning them two years ago.
He wrote: “Going forward, the Liberian Embassy in Cairo plays a vital role as do we ourselves. The students know this. The students themselves know that we will not honor any communication from them until they comply with our policy and reconcile with the Liberian diplomats in Cairo.
“We have had too many exchanges and the students were told to return home. The Egyptian authorities were told to facilitate the process of their return home. The Liberian Embassy facilitated these communications. The policy has not yet changed.”
The students told the Daily Observer that the unchanged policy mentioned by Director Werner has put a permanent suspension on the release of their allowances and as a result they are suffering in a foreign land, without any financial and material assistance.
“We are yet to complete our courses and what we are appealing for is for the GOL to ensure that our allowances are restored,” the students maintained.
The students are Abdulla M. Barry, Abdullah O. Syllah, Alieu M. Jalieba, Sheik K. Sesay, Yusuf Swaray, Losene A. Dukuly, Abduasise A. Dakawah, Abraham Z. M. Kromah, Seliaman A. Kanneh, and Mohammed A. Kiawhen.
The rest are Alieu A. Kiazolu, Mustapha M. Sheriff, Fuad F. Nyei, Alieu V. Kamara and Sekou M. Sherif, Alieu F. Sheriff, Mustapha M. Kromah, Kalifa M. Kamara, Sekou A. Barry and Mohammed M. Turay
Up to press time this paper was seeking further clarification on what caused the termination of their program in Egypt and whether the students had received the means to facilitate their return to Liberia. Director Werner’s response to the students hinted at some compliance issues and reconciliation between the students and the Liberian embassy in Cairo.