-To explain sustainable strategy on “free tuition program”
The Senate Committees on Education and Ways, Means and Finance have been mandated, if necessary, to conduct hearing on a sustainability strategy by government for the “free tuition program” for state-run universities and all public colleges.
The Senate plenary’s unanimous vote on Thursday, January 24, 2019, was prompted by a communication submitted to that body by Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, seeking its indulgence to invite the ministers of Education, Finance and Development Planning, and President of the University of Liberia (UL), to explain pertinent issues regarding President George Weah’s recent pronouncement of “free tuition.”
“Given the fact that there is no provision in the national budget to support the President’s free tuition policy, I am kindly seeking the indulgence of plenary to invite the ministers of Finance and Education and the President of the University of Liberia to present a free education plan and explain to us the sustainability strategy for this ‘free tuition program,” Sen. Lawrence’s communication said.
It can be recalled that following his pronouncement of the free tuition for UL and all public colleges sometime last year, President Weah said that his government will work out the modalities for the actualization of the pledge. His pronouncement, however did not go down well with some members of the public who called it a knee-jerk reaction to UL student agitation on a number of campus related issues as well as issues of national concern particularly the case of the “missing money”. This situation has thus left the public wondering just how the government intends to actualize the pronouncement when there is no budgetary allocation in the current national budget.
Meanwhile, based on the importance of the communication, many Senators had hoped that a motion would have been proffered to allow few minutes of debate before sending it to committee which turned out not to be the case.
“I thought so too, but since the committees are expected to conduct hearing, we’ll wait and see,” Sen. Lawrence said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate committee on Education River Cess County Senator Dallas A. V. Gueh, has been requested to report to plenary in two weeks.