It was a scene yesterday in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County when hundreds of students stormed the administrative building where Vice President Joseph Boakai, ministers, lawmakers and international partners were launching the first County Services Center. The students said they were there to request for the return of their school fees from officials present.
Students held up signs and chanted anti-government slogans, saying, “No promotion, we want our school fees. Let justice be done to all. Some were heard chanting “We’re sick and tired of the inconsistency of this government. We will fight and die for our rights.”
According to the president of the Grand Bassa Student Union, Trokon S. Kangar, who led the protest, they were dissatisfied with the government’s recent decision to close schools across the country.
“This government doesn’t have love for the common Liberian people, so it does anything at anytime. Our parents are selling, some are making farms just to have us educated but this government is not looking at their struggles. The issue of a messy education has turned into a double mess due to the current Minister.
“But as struggling students, we will not leave the street, even when it causes us to make our way to Monrovia to block the streets so that our cries can be heard, we will do it,” student Kangar said.
Kangar noted that the recent pronouncement by the Ministry of Education to promote students in other classes with the exception of 9th and 12th grades is unacceptable and will not be given credence. They want students to be treated equally.
While they were protesting Rep. Gabriel Buchanan Smith (Grand Bassa) called on the students to remain calm and promised that he would work along with his colleagues and the Ministry of Education to fine solutions to their request.
Also receiving the petition from the protesting students, Vice President Joseph Boakai urged the students to return to their various homes and also promised to work with President Sirleaf and the Minister of Education upon his return to Monrovia.
VP Boakai asserted that when the government sees that the youth are disappointed it must take its time to address their issues. He praised the students for the level of their patience in expressing their disappointment.
“This is the way we believe our country should go – peaceful demonstration when you have a problem. We’ve received the petition and I want to assure you that whatever we do has to be in the interest of our youth because you are the future leaders of this country so we will do all we can to respond to your problems as government,” Vice President Boakai assured.