Lofa University Students Decry Poor Sitting Capacity & Lack of Qualify Teaching Staff

By: Victoria Wesseh, +231 77 814 7938, FeJAL Mentorship Fellow

VANJANMA LOFA- MAY 31, 2024: Students at Lofa County University are complaining about the lack of conducive and proper sitting capacity and sufficient teaching staff as major challenges undermining quality learning at the university.

According to the students, the lack of sufficient chairs in the classrooms has caused students to tote chairs from one place to another in pursuit of education.
The students said most of them usually stand while teaching is ongoing; thus making it difficult for them to take notes.

Mayans Dulleh, a student in the Business College said, “The situation can be too disgraceful at times when our friends are sitting in the few available chairs and writing while some of us have to stand and manage to write due to the lack of chairs”.
She added, “What is even more embarrassing, chairs are in Government high schools in Voinjoima and other places in the counties, but the only Government University in the County does not have sufficient chairs to accommodate its students”.

Miss Dulleh who is majoring in Public Administration emphasized that if nothing is done to address the insufficiency of chairs at the only Government institution, it will reduce enrollment.

“I am so concerned about the situation here because I know it will be so difficult for students who will be graduating from various high schools across Lofa County to never think about enrolling at the Lofa University if they hear that the University lacks sitting capacity,” Amos Wolobah a student said.
The students are calling on the University Board and officials of the County to get involved and ensure the problem is resolved to avoid students protesting before action is taken.

They are also calling on the Lofa County Legislative Caucus to ensure a significant portion of the One Hundred Thousand United States dollars allotted to each Lawmaker for development purposes in the 2024 FY budget in their respective districts be directed to the production of more chairs through the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).

“Most of our Lecturers are usually tired before the afternoon hours. Imagine one lecturer teaching up to six courses because of the lack of more Lecturers. Some of the Lecturers tell us, it is academically wrong, but they have no option now”, Massah Fofana another student said.

According to student Fofona, “One Lecturer will come in class from 8am until 5PM, at this point the entire class becomes so boring to the extent that most of the students lose interest.

Some members of the faculty who also spoke on condition of anonymity made it clear that the current situation University could be attributed to the failure of the administration to provide better incentives for Lecturers and better learning conditions for students.

They said, in order to attract more qualified Lecturers from Monrovia and other parts of the Country, the administration must be willing to provide better incentives and opportunities that other Universities outside Monrovia are not providing.

“Once the enabling environment is provided through better wages and improved living conditions among other things, you will begin to see more qualified Lecturers leaving from other Universities coming to Lofa County University, one Lecturer said”.

When contacted by Vice President for Administration Mr. Danwolo BS Catakaw confirmed that there is insufficient sitting capacity at the University. Mr. Catakow however said the administration is putting in place measures to procure more than Three Thousand (3,000) chairs as part of efforts to address the situation.

“Chairs at the University are arranged based on the number of students doing courses, but it seems the numbers are increasing, we do not compromise our academic standards and that is why we have more Lecturers, well qualified and prepared to teach our students”.

The Lofa County Community College was established in 2010 by an Act of the 52nd Legislature of Liberia, with four training programs referred to as Departments of Agriculture, Health Sciences, Education, and Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The National Commission on Higher Education Board of Commissioners also granted a Bachelor Degree status to the Lofa County Community College to operate in Liberia.

The approval was informed by the argument that additional funding was available to operate the College for the first two years.
In addition, the approval of the College by the NCHE Board Commissioners provided the Lofa County Community College a “Licensure” status and also authorized it to commence operations in the specific disciplines mentioned above at the baccalaureate level for an initial two-year period.

In 2021, the Liberian Senate passed into law a bill seeking to elevate the Lofa County Community College to a full-fledged four-year university.

The bill for the elevation of the College was introduced by former Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquoi with the help of other lawmakers, including Representatives Thomas Fallah, now deputy Speaker, former Representatives Beyan Howard, Mariamu Fofana, and Francis Nyumalin, now Minister of Internal Affairs as well as Representative Julie Fatorma Wiah.

The Mission and Vision of the Lofa County University is to provide educational opportunities to the citizens of Voinjama, Lofa County, and other counties. The University also aims to foster a vibrant, diverse, and socially engaged learning community that helps students reach their educational goals.

This content was produced by the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) Mentorship Fellow, through the support of Internews USAID Year III Media Activity Reporting Program

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