Liberia: 11 Students Risk Jail in China If...

23 September 2020

The Minister of Education Prof. AnsuSonii says 11 Liberian students who have completed their studies in China are at risk of going to jail if the Government of Liberia doesn't transport them to Liberia before the end of September 2020.

Making the disclosure Wednesday, 23 September before the full plenary of the Liberian Senate, Prof. Sonii said since the students completed their studies in China, the Government of Liberia has not solicited the funds to have them transported to Liberia.

According to him, Liberia's Ambassador in China informed him that once the studies of the students are done, the Government of China no longer accommodates them, saying that they will go to jail if their country doesn't send for them.

"Even if they go to jail to, about two days, we will get them out. We are trying our possible best to get to the Finance Ministry to generate the funds to get the students out of China," Min. Sonii says. He notes that they have 143 students in foreign countries studying, 61 of them in China, 72 in Morocco, 8 in India and 2 in the United States of America.

Minister Sonii further explains that there are 25 students who have overstayed in Morocco, saying that some of them have stayed up to 9-10 years. According to Prof. Sonii, some students who have overstayed in China have held a demonstration in that country.

He tells the plenary further that because of the delay in paying the students' allowance, they signed a memorandum of understanding with the parents of the students that if the government delays in paying the allowance, the parents should take the responsibility or the child will not be given the scholarship.

Sonni states that there were 748 students on local scholarships in 14 colleges and universities in the country, adding that the ministry has put a pause on scholarship because the government still owes US$478,000 for scholarships.

Addressing the hike in tuition fees by private and public schools here, Minister Sonii explains that public schools are not paying school fees. He says there was an understanding between public schools and parents that students at the elementary level will pay US$5.00 while the junior high level will pay US$10.00.

According to him, it was also agreed that senior students would pay US$15.00 to help buy chalks and other related school materials, adding that when supplies are available, these payments will stop. Addressing the private schools issue, Minister Sonii explains that when they go for their permits, the ministry will request their previous and current registration records.

He details that if there is any increment without justifiable reason, the school involved will not be given permit to run as a school in Liberia and their students will not go for the national exam.

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