Students of the Engineering Department at the Tubman University in Maryland County are demanding qualified instructional staff and other basic instructional materials.
The students told this newspaper via mobile phone that unidentified Philipino professors in the department are not conversant with their subject matter, adding that they don’t understand their style of teaching.
The students are demanding that the school’s administration either change the professors or they will not return to their classes.
“We don’t understand anything from these professors and their way of teaching is quite different as if to say they do not even hold degrees,” they said.
The students also complained of lack of adequate computers to do research.
“The computer lab on the campus cannot even host 20 students,” they said. “We are paying fees for the computer labs, but we are not getting the type of services we should be getting.”
When contacted via mobile phone, the President of Tubman University, Dr. Edward L. Wonkeryor, confirmed the protest and said the administration is negotiating with the students to bring the situation under control.
He said the students are demanding for a new engineering building, more and new computers in the laboratory as well as more qualified instructional staff.
He said their demand is in place, though not the proper manner because the school has a policy, which tells them how to address their grievances.
Dr. Wonkeryor, who said he just returned from a trip abroad, said he received the students’ complaint on October 17.
He explained that the Philipino professors in question were hired during the administration of his predecessor, Dr. Elizabeth Rusell, adding that their contract is yet to expire, which he said cannot be done unilaterally.
“We are bringing in 40 pieces of brand new computers and are also in the process of bringing additional professors so I am calling on the students to remain peaceful,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Wonkeryor praised the professors for their tireless efforts in the education of Liberians, especially at the Tubman University, but cautioned Liberian educators to take the opportunity and apply for courses the foreign professors are teaching.
The Maryland County Administration, headed by Superintendent Betsy T. Kuoh-Toe made several interventions to quiet down the students to return to classes, but sources said all the efforts have been fruitless.
Efforts to get Supt. Toe could not be materialized.
Dr. Wonkeryor took over from Dr. Elizabeth Russell last year and he said his relationship with the student leadership has been very cordial since he took over.
He said due to last year’s budget shortfall, the school could not restore most of the facilities the students are demanding for.