The Liberia National Students Union (LINSU) has expressed disappointment with Education Minister Etmonia David Tarpeh’s regime and its handling of the educational sector.
Speaking at the 35th anniversary of the April 14, 1979, rice riots in Liberia that led to over one-hundred students’ deaths, the president of LINSU, Varney Jarsey, expressed disappointment with the Minister for what he termed as “hikes in tuition, credit hours and fees in all sectors of education in Liberia.”
According to Mr. Jarsey, the government has provided support in the form of subsidies to private institutions at the secondary and tertiary levels but the impacts of said subsidies have not been felt by students in Liberia.
“In spite of the support provided by the government to private educational institutions; tuition, fees and credit hours still remain too high. This has resulted in many students dropping out from school because they cannot afford to pay for their education,” he lamented.
He said “it is the belief that subsidies to private institutions of learning at any level must compensate for the reduction in tuition, fees and credit hours. Sadly, the Liberian experience— especially under this regime— tells a different story.”
Mr. Jarsey said that government subsidies have become a curse, with tuitions, fees and credit hours increasing year by year.
According to him, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has damaged the education system, by appointing her friend, Minister Etmonia David Tarpeh, to its highest position. He accused the minister of completely failing to create any meaningful way of uplifting the education sector for the people of Liberia. He described education in Liberia as a broken down house that needed to be rebuilt from its foundation upwards.
“If kindergarten education is not thorough, then that makes primary learning messy; by that same token, if primary education is not critical and robust, secondary education is a useless venture; leaving the entire process of tertiary learning in a state of confusion.”
He said that Liberian education sector’s present fate was simultaneously sad and laughable; especially under a regime that owes its ascendency to education and intellectualism, yet, failed to revisit the role of students that helped the President claim power in 2005.
“We want to say that the students are frustrated and want to declare ‘a vote of no confidence’ in the Ministry of Education’s administration. Especially since education in Liberia was declared a mess by President Sirleaf. This administration has failed to clean up the mess; instead, they have made it worse.”