Monday, 2 May 2011

Higher Education Relief

Modern community college construction on course in Voinjama city, Set for dedication on Independence Day

By Stephen D. Kollie, 06460677

Voinjama, Lofa County
Kamara Jallah, believed to be in his 30s, is breathing a sigh of relief after days of protest dating back in February 2010. Kamara intones strongly to FPA that it is an excellent “dream come true” after hearing the echo that a modern junior college construction has gotten underway.
Kamara, a relentless youth advocate, working with the youth umbrella organization Federation of Liberia Youths, FLY, is at least convince that his mass demonstration with dozens of student groups played a major role in the commencement of the college work.
Standing a better chance
The man along with other colleagues who convened a mass peaceful demonstration in the principal streets of Voinjama in protest of the now junior college, and particularly the US$ 500, 000 allotment for the construction of the college, is now convinced that Lofaians from all walks of life will have a better chance to stand in the areas of higher education.
“I feel very happy and don’t know how to even express it,” the advocate says. “I am hoping that this college will help many of our high school graduates that they don’t have to go to school in Monrovia and they can stay right here and learn” he told FPA.
For James Kolubah, one of several graduates of the Voinjama Free Pentecostal Mission School, it is too soon to begin singing praises as he worries about the provision of resources in the domain of the college.
Kolubah says the availability of competent lecturers at the institution when built will surface some little constraints on the side of government who has the vision to meet one of several goals of the poverty reduction strategy as per this venture. “Building the college is one thing but let’s have it in mind that this is just the initial stage of this work and does not deserve too may praises at the moment. We still have so many things to meet up with before the full operation of this college,” he says.
Skeptical about lecturer payment
Kolubah believes that government will find it difficult to bring in qualified lecturers at the college considering the financial potency it might possess for those professors.
He told FrontPage Africa on Friday that several lecturers and professors are currently teaching at multi universities and colleges in Monrovia and might not be willing to work for lesser amount in leeward counties.
Special allotment for FPBC
The Voinjama high school graduate later recommended that a special funding be allotted to the present college in the county so as to enhance their capacity while awaiting the full operation of the government-owned community college. “Let them help the Free Pentecostal College with some money, books and other essential things that can build the capacity of the college as we wait for the other one,” he concluded.
A FrontPage Africa tour on Friday, April 28, 2011 witnessed a mass construction work currently ongoing by a local Liberian construction company MUSONS GROUP INC.
Though FPA could not catch up with officials of the Ministry of Public Works charged with the responsibility of supervising the construction work, daily hired workers, especially some 21 women, could be observed very enthusiastic about the task before them.

The Field supervisor of MUSONS INC told FrontPage Africa that their daily hired contractors are paid on the basis of skilled and unskilled workers. “If you are some one that is very skilled we pay six or seven US dollars. but if you are not skilled, we pay about LD $200.00.
Men, women at work
Supervisor Richard K. Ballah disclosed that his construction group employed some 125 men and about 25 women, though an FPA reporter did not see the exact number spoken off caring on the work. 
Quizzed whether she was impressed with the amount she works for daily, a daily hire contractor could only say she has no other alternative because it is difficult to get a dime daily in this post-war county. “It is hard to go anywhere now to get job for this amount especially in this town, so I can use this to sustain me and my family.”
The community college consists of 6 apartments, each of which carries 4 class rooms. There is also an administrative building with screening rooms as well as an auditorium.
The project when completed will serve as one of 3 major projects earmarked by local officials of the county for dedication on independence’s day by president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Others include the presidential palace which is yet at a slow pace and a sports stadium which its construction work is yet to start.
Shameful independence fears
Expressing their disappointment in central government and local authorities of  Lofa, some citizens are beginning to fear that the county would be at shame comes July 26 as compared to the excellent celebrations in Bong and Nimba counties. 

Jackson Kormah, a local money changer said the process of delay has always been the tendency of the county thus creating the avenue for total setback for Lofa.
“My brother, let me tell you any thing like that is always poor and hard to be a success. Even the agriculture fair you saw how it was for Lofa right? This county I don’t know really what is wrong with us. We are just hard to move ahead in anything. We have almost all the top people in government but still we cannot be developed. Why?” He said.
Jackson is also concerned that the festivities would be marred with accommodation difficulties amid lack of guest houses and hotels to host strangers or guest.
FrontPage Africa has learned that the government-owned guest house is currently in dilapidated state and is incapable of accommodating not even hundred persons due to its limited rooms.