By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
The University of Liberia official opening seems to be greeted by an unaccepted appeal from the school’s administration as there is mass absence of the faculty, which depicts an expression of their unwillingness to return to the classrooms even though students trooped on campus in their mass for classes. Upon the pronouncement of the opening of classes, an appeal was made to the faculty and staff to accept at least two-month of their four-month salary arrears and allowances. but the university faculty it seems is yet to respond to the appeal.
University president, Emmett Dennis over the weekend admitted to owing faculty and staff of the nation’s highest institution four months in ssalaries and said that with the US$ 3 million made available by the govt of Liberia at least two months salary arrears could be paid.
As Dr. Dennis made the appeal, he also announced changes in the regular instructional protocols which he blamed on the lack of sufficient funds the college, especially in the wake of the Ebola virus which is now abating.
New policies instituted according to Dr. Dennis has directed that for the first five weeks of school opening beginning from March 17, only senior and junior students will be allowed in classes followed by freshmen and sophomore students so that the semester that was interrupted by the Ebola outbreak could be completed.
And for the Ebola measures, the University administration also admitted that it is unable to contain all 30, 000 enrolled students on its campuses at once, and will therefore concentrate only on only 300 and 400 level courses for the first five weeks.
It is not clear whether the UL was or is careful in designing its recent protocol taking into account the status at which the University was before the Ebola menace disrupted learning activities in the country. However, students who thronged the main campus yesterday in frustration, said they believe that the first week of the five weeks given senior and junior students is expected to end in fiasco.
The students wondered how University administration derived at its protocol to open school in the midst of the huge internal challenges, saying by tomorrow if nothing constructive is done or heard, they will begin their usual protest since it is believed to be the only language the educational authority and government understand.
During a tour by a team of reporters from this paper, it was observed that only one teacher in a half-full accounting class as other students waited eagerly in other classes for instructors while others just sat idly outside.
Their concerns were also about the instructors who died during the Ebola outbreak or those who might have traveled and may not return to classes. The students wondered that judging from the attitude of the instructors, what mechanisms have been put in place by the administration; they believe strongly that the resumption of classes will begin from where instructional period stopped.