The government of Liberia scholarship students in Rabat, the Kingdom of Morocco, have begun a month-long protest, this time having made their way inside the compound of the Liberian Embassy in that country, to demand the payment of their unpaid scholarship stipends.
On Wednesday, July 31, the Liberian students, complaining of being neglected by the Liberian Government over ten months of living allowances, moved to the Embassy with their belongings, threatening to remain there until their Government back home can address their plights.
The protesting students, who have been thrown out of their hostels for unpaid rent, have for the past 10 months been living in Morocco without any money from the Liberian government for their upkeep, including rent, transportation, and feeding.
Under the administration of President George Weah, the government has pledged to boost the number of scholarships awarded each year, particularly students from low-income families to build a literate society.
However, hundreds of government scholarship students studying abroad have consistently complained about the delay of stipends, as is the situation of the Liberian scholarship students in Morocco.
John Singbae II, one of the leaders of the Liberian students in Morocco, accused the government of total neglect, despite being in the know of their current predicament and has refused to act.
“In the face of our precarious situations, the Liberian government has shown itself to be insensitive to our problems because they have not provided us with the needed support. We are tired of living here in hell, which is the reason why we are protesting.
“Until our stipends’ are paid in full, will not stop protesting. We deserve better living not suffering. We are tired of begging people here to survive. We came here to study and not to suffer. For this reason, we will continue the protest until our demands are met,” Singbae said.
According to him, the Ambassador, with the help of the Moroccan police, had the protesting students forcefully removed from the embassy compound.
“No amount of force will stop us from protesting. I am so disappointed in the ambassador for calling police on us instead of helping us find a solution to our problems. However, we are not deterred by his action and we will continue our protest,” Singbae said.
In an interview the Daily Observer earlier this year, Singbae explained that a year ago, they signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the MOE for a monthly allowance of at least US$300 for each student’s bills, including rental fee for an apartment, electricity, water, transportation, and feeding.
“On November 2018, the government sent 54 students to join the 30 others already in Morocco for studies in various disciplines. But since the students arrived there, the GoL has not lived up to the terms and conditions of the MoU. Since last year up to now, students here have not received a cent from the government, nor has the government communicated to us about the cause of the delay in remitting our monthly allowances,” Singbae said in the previous interview with this paper.
The scholarship in question is a bilateral scholarship agreement between the two countries’ which has been in existing for over 50 years, geared towards educating Liberian students in higher disciplines.
Per the agreement, the Moroccan government is responsible to provide the tuition while Liberian government is responsible for providing housing, feeding, transportation, study materials, health insurance and many more for its students.
Latim DaThong, the Deputy Minister for Administration, at the ministry of education in an interview with this paper three months ago corroborated the students’ woes and said that the government is working on the situation.
However, since then, the government has not been able to finish solving the problem.