Last week, Liberian President George Weah declared that university tuition at the University of Liberia and Tubman University, as well as all community colleges, would be free for undergraduate programs.
The announcement is part of Weah’s goal to develop Liberians’ capacity and skills.
Noting the link between greater economic growth and a better-educated population, and that school expenses are prohibitive for many young people, Weah said it was important for the government to invest in education.
However, later in the week, Acting Minister of Education Latim Da-Thong said that the offer of free tuition did not cover registration or ID card fees, nor the cost of handbooks.
The government estimates that the cost of sending 20,000 students to school full-time will cost $1-2 million, which represents a large proportion of the country’s annual budget. (Liberia’s annual federal budget for 2017-2018 was about $527 million.)
In addition to free tuition, the government has set up Saturday prep classes for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, which is required to study at university.
Sources: Liberian Observer, Front Page Africa Online