‘Ellen Gives Us Snakes for Fish, Rocks for Bread’


The president of the Liberia National Students Union (LINSU), Varney Jarsey, has expressed his concern over the state of Liberia’s fast diminishing educational sector. He said it was undeserved payback from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to Liberian students, who were instrumental in getting her elected.

The steady increase of registration fees and tuition in the nation’s schools and universities along with the dilapidated state of public schools were a few of the reasons the LINSU president declared the Sirleaf administration a disappointment to Liberian students.

Speaking Wednesday, April 16, at the 40th Anniversary Gala of the JJ Ross Memorial High School on Ashmun Street, Central Monrovia, Mr. Jarsey said in 2005, the students campaigned heavily for the Harvard educated Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf against Mr. George M. Weah, with the conviction that she was the best candidate to revive the nation’s ailing educational sector.

The LINSU boss compared the students’ political choice of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to “Being given snakes instead of fish and rocks in place of bread.”

Mr. Jarsey stated that the Sirleaf-led government rose to power on the platform of education, but has failed to create competition in the sector. He said instead of progress they have been “suffering the insufferable and enduring the unendurable” in the education sector.

 “President Sirleaf, this administration has failed to clean up the mess. Instead, they have added to it,” LINSU’s president ranted.

Mr. Jarsey said, the president rightly observed that the educational sector was in a mess. He added to that observation saying that the system was rotten, antiquated and corrupt.

He pointed out that though the government is providing support in the form of subsidies to institutions at the secondary and tertiary levels, the impact of said subsidies have not been felt by students in the country.

“In spite of the support provided by the government to private educational institutions, tuition, fees and credit hours still remain too high; with many students dropping out from school because they can not afford to settle their financial obligations,” Mr. Jarsey opined.

Earlier in the week, the LINSU president, on behalf of Liberian students, expressed a “vote of no confidence” in Education Minister Etimonia David Tarpeh. He called her a failure due to the break down in the education system.

 Mr. Jarsey expressed his disappointment over the ‘static development’ of his ‘alma mata’, the JJ Ross Memorial High School.

He suggested a roundtable conference to be attended by the school’s alumni, administration, students, and owners (The Pelham family) to brainstorm on a way forward for the progress of the school.

The JJ Ross High School was established on April 16, 1974 by the late Rev. Samuel Ross and Mother Louise Ross Rogers. Mrs. Ross-Rogers was the daughter of the late Honorable Joseph Jacob Ross, former Senator of Sinoe County and Liberia’s former Vice President, under President Arthur Barclay.

Rev. Rogers, after the death of his wife, passed the gavel of authority to her grandson, the late Col. Walter M. Pelham, Sr., according to her will.


  1. The education sector in our Country, Liberia needs to be highly regarded by all stakeholders. Majority of us, Liberians have traveled and may have positively observed the school systems of other countries. I believe teachers and/or instructors would highly be motivated if their salaries, especially those that are really working. Like in La Cote D’Ivoire, teachers’ quarters are being established in all of the campuses, especially in rural communities. Let us adopt this system too for instructors to be motivated to go in those rural areas.
    Moreover, the government needs to set up a regulation to also guide private school system to moderate their fees.


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