Due to an apparent failure in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) to end strike action and suspension of classes, protests involving students at the state run university have resurfaced.
The protesting students said lecturers have decided not to honor learning sessions until they are paid by government. Therefore, the students made it known that they have resolved to protest actions until their instructors are paid.
The renewed protests run contrary to the signing of an MoU for which the UL administration, headed by Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, announced the resumption of classes on all of its campuses beginning October 8, 2021.
After its signing, the MoU was specifically targeting resolution of problems or demands of the faculty, including salary disparities through standardization and gradual increment of salaries for members of the faculty.
Also in the MoU is the restoration of non-cash incentives, including data, laptops, gas slips for members of the faculty as means for improving academic activities at the UL.
The MoU intends to address the immediate payment of outstanding arrears for part-timers, and revision and improvement of contract conditions and terms for part-timers.
It focuses on the resolution and regularization of Social Security deductions and remittance to NASSCORP for employees of the UL, including members of ULFA.
It promised to address the resolution and improvement of the medical and health insurance benefit for employees of the university, including members of the faculty.
According to the MoU, there will be immediate improvement in academic activities at the university through additional and targeted budgetary allocation from the Government of Liberia for the provision of more stationery, white boards and white board markers, books, computers, internet, office spaces for professors, among others.
The MoU promised to focus on the immediate improvement in the physical infrastructures of the university campuses, including those on Capitol Hill and at Fendell.
It says there will be improvement such as refurbishment of latrines, provision of chairs for students, pavements, renovation of dilapidated buildings, construction of new buildings, painting and beautification of the university facilities, among others.
The Government of Liberia reassured the student community of the UL that President George Weah is committed to improving the learning environment as manifested in his government’s tuition-free policy and digitalization of the enrollment and learning facilities at the university.
Based on the direct instructions of President Weah, the Government represented by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the Civil Service Agency (CSA) over the past weeks was engaged with ULFA and UL administration.
Following the end of this intense engagement, the Government of Liberia through the MFDP and CSA on October 1, 2021, signed the comprehensive MoU with ULFA and the administration of UL at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
Government said the MoU would now address perennial problems that have plagued the UL, problems which predated the Weah-administration but continue to be faced by employees and students of UL, leading to the current strike action by members of the faculty and the suspension of classes.