Let The University of Liberia Administration Put Words Into Action

By: Emmanuel S. King, Jr.

Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted March 8, 2005

Recently at a well-attended meeting of the University of Liberia Faculty Association, some instructors and professors raised concerns about the manner some students go to school or attend classes.

They said these students go on campus with only a handbag and a novel not even carrying copybooks to take notes. During their spare time they engage in lots of discussions not pertaining to academic activities or lectures.

What is troubling, the instructors and professors said, is that from observation, these students would fail miserably. They perform very poorly.

The situation at the University of Liberia has been so since the civil war started in 1990. From this period, to present, the standard of the University of Liberia has dropped. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that there aren’t qualified instructors at the UL. There are. For me, 98% of the instructors and professors I sat under have performed well. They must be commended. However, what is disheartening is that those students who perform very poorly sometimes have easy ride. Again don’t get me wrong! I am not saying that these instructors are responsible. What I am saying is that much is needed in terms of restructuring the UL to cope the present day reality.

There are a lot of reasons why people these days attend the University some of which are: Some people attend the UL because they see others or their best friends attending and so want to rub shoulder with them.

Others simply attend the UL because they want to be part of the number while others go there to show off.

Yet still, some attend because they only want to acquire a paper or Bachelor degree because for some of them they are already working in areas that only need the paper while a large number attend the UL hoping to earnestly earn a degree, sweating and burning candles to acquire that degree.

With all these listed, it can be clearly seen that there are all kinds of people at the UL. It is in this light that I call on the UL authorities to begin the task of overhauling the University of Liberia by raising the salaries of lecturers, instructors and professors at the UL so as to begin academic discipline. Another thing that is needed is for the authorities to review the records of all students at the UL and those who have gone below the 2.0 GPA be warned or be dropped from the UL upon failure to improve.

There is also a need to employ more qualified instructors and professors at the UL so as to have the UL on par with other universities in Africa and around the world. The University of Liberia once used to be a place where students from other African countries attended making it one of the best in the world. Such a status needs to come back to the UL.

Last semester, while doing a course, I discovered that a lot of students who had reached the senior level could not make a pass even after the same test was repeated. The issue is what was being taught was nothing that warranted such bad grades. Of course you would argue that the instructors should sometimes be blamed in this case. I feel the instructors should not take the blame because we had gone over the techniques of writing (expository writing) weeks after weeks. Imagine treating only one topic for the whole semester and the results coming up poor!

In concluding, I call on the Administration of Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh to go beyond mere words and begin to put into place measures that will bring academic discipline to the UL.

Let the UL be seen as a place where men and women go to acquire sound education for the rebuilding of Liberia and not a place where argument with no substance and low GPA by most students be the order of the day. Remember Dr. Conteh you promised to do those things your predecessors have been trying to do, ie to reform the UL. The ball is in your court, score the first goal.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.