By Abraham M. Keita VI
Comrades and friends of revolutionary consciousness and intellectual prowess, cadres and militants who have drank from the fountain of knowledge and the zenith of academia; it is bewildering that the two national organizations that are to protect the interests of youth and students are the sleepless and tireless backing dogs of the failed Ellen-led regime. The continual silence by LINSU and FLY is an act of cowardice and this has created room for the spewing of invectives on the students community thus describing our education sector has “a mess”. The quietness or otherwise inefficaciousness being exhibited by LINSU and FLY has led to the swift increase in school fees. Of course their silence is a peril or threat to our existence! Therefore, I am under an unbending directive in defense of the panging sons and daughters of the economically ostracized men and women of Liberia to reawake LINSU and FLY and to remind them that for years we have anguished as a result of their incapability to agitate on our behalf.
The Liberian National Student Union (LINSU) was established in 1952 and the Federation of Liberian Youth was founded on May 31, 1974 to champion the cause and interest of the hopeless and poverty-stricken youth and student masses. I can safely say today that, since the beginning of the epoch of the so-called “Iron Lady” as President of Liberia, these two groups have been hushed. The issues of students and youth are no longer prioritized. In fact, these two organizations are the reasons why threadbare political bureaucrats and directionless administrators and teachers at high schools and universities now abuse and exploit students not taking into account their political, economic and social statuses.
The inability of these two faceless (as I would term it) organizations to fervidly and consistently seek the welfare of students and youth has led to a rapid increase in bribery in schools, sex for grades, money for grades, unavailability of equipped libraries and laboratories in many schools, inconsistency of many teachers/professors during class periods to teach students the required topics within a given period, thus leading to many students not covering the topics they should cover, etc. Why, in the presence of these intricacies, LINSU and FLY are silent? The leaders of both entities should bear in mind and remain cognizant that they were elected to seek students and youth welfare, not theirs!
For too long, the rights of students and youth have been abused, in order words amputated. The student masses and youth community have been subjected to the economic enigmas created by the current government headed by an unqualified “Nobel laureate”; this is happening to us due to the lackadaisical and futile abilities of the leaders of LINSU and FLY. They have turned our institutions into “beggars’ bars” (i.e. feeling from the money they get from the government when the government is defended against the sons and daughters of the marketers) and have also thwarted the youth and students’ agenda into an oasis of profiteering.
Recently, Liberia’s self-proclaimed reformist Education Minister George Werner pronounced the closure of all secondary schools across the country at the end of July 2015. According to Minister Werner, there was a plan to reform the education sector from “mess” to “best”. This fulsome and rowdy mood taken by Mr. George Werner in the name of education reformation was a mere flamboyancy and intended to damage the educational sojourn of every student in Liberia. During this time, we expected LINSU and FLY to challenge the Proposed Reform Policy. Astoundingly, leaders of LINSU and FLY were heard on several radio talk-shows and TV programs vigorously supporting the discreet action by one Education Minister, who, during that time wanted national attention. However, I was not surprise about this bragging support for the minister as it is very common to see young Liberians especially youth and students’ leaders defending draconian government policies and actions that will negatively hamper the people. This only proved that LINSU and FLY are milking from the corrupt pockets of government officials. Their (LINSU and FLY) action to support the government in shutting down schools with a promise to reform the system was an oil-omen and hapless scheme to create a dark cloud over the educational future of over 1 million students.
Now, LINSU and FLY must tell us, those reforms that have so far been accomplished. They must give us the names of those schools that were rehabilitated, renovated or reconstructed as was promised in the worthless ‘Education Reform Policy’. They must tell us the schools’ libraries and laboratories that were improved or otherwise provided to schools.
Few months ago, the Administration of UL planned to nefariously amplify tuition from L$175.00 per credit to US$ 5.00 per credit and transportation fare from L$30.00 to L$100.00. This callous intent did not only amount to wickedness, but it was also a canny and crafty scheme to discourage and dampen the academic progress of over 36,000 students currently attending the University of Liberia. Again, what were the roles of LINSU and FLY? Had it not been the uncompromising resistance from the Vanguard Student Unification Party (SUP), I strongly hold the believe that the decision would have remain unchanged, because the government no longer respects LINSU and FLY since in fact they lack integrity and honesty.
I owe a duty to my generation and that is, to flag out issues when the need arises. Those issues are ones that are not in the people’s interest. I will not run away from my responsibility. Whosoever thinks or holds the belief that we will not condemn LINSU and FLY for their malpractices, must be joking. We will do so at all times and in every moderate manner.
About the author: Abraham M. Keita VI, 17, is currently a 12th grade student at the Joseph Jenkins Roberts United Methodist School. He is a Child/Student Advocate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org