MONROVIA: The University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA), has accused the UL Administration of involvement in bad labor practice and other acts which run contrary to international best practices.
ULFA believes that the recent decision by the UL authority to make pronouncement for the commencement of Semester One Academic Year without settling arrears and other benefits owe lecturers and teachers of the UL amounts to gross violation of their right, an act of bad labor practice and other acts which are not in conformity to international best practices.
ULFA, in a formal communication to the UL’s administration over the weekend, said while it is cognizant of the University’s interest in seeing its doors opened for teaching and learning to go on, the University should also take into consideration the health and wellbeing of lecturers and teachers of UL which is cardinal for effective teaching and learning.
The letter, a copy of which is in possession of The ‘Investigative’ INDEPENDENT Newspaper added that the reopening of an academic semester without addressing pending critical issues such as the implementation of the promotion and tenure policy exercises that are long over-due, payment of arrears for Part-Time lecturers and non-payment for data packages for those who taught online for the current and last semester, and not commenting on NASSCORP enrollment and status updates, regularity of retirees pension payments, lack of adequate instructional materials, human resource manual, transportation for Sinje faculty, credential audit among other issues, is a clear manifestation of the Administration’s lack of interest in faculty growth and welfare.
According to ULFA, the University has also failed to implement the 2021 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between the both parties for good working environment and the provision of quality tertiary education to students attending the University, saying, “ULFA notes that all of the issues mentioned are contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on October 1, 2021 in Monrovia.
“It is assumed that faculty members use the vacation period as their leave which afford them the opportunity to rest and refresh themselves and prepare for the next semester. Thus, we have barely had a vacation this year with our members involved in graduation exercises about one and a half weeks ago,” the ULFA communication, signed by Mr. Eric T. S. Patten, Secretary General, ULFA, and Dr. S. Morris Cooper, President, noted.
ULFA also alarmed that the 10-week academic activities are also inadequate for the faculty to present lectures and complete course syllabus for the semester.
The ULFA maintains that this academic calendar released by the UL Administration “has the propensity of undermining the quality of learning and education that the students need to brace themselves for their professional sojourn.”
ULFA therefore suggested that the UL Administration should either run this semester as a “vacation school,” thus limiting the course carrying capacity of students and increasing the lecture hours or run a complete semester of 16 weeks (July – October 2023) to enhance quality education at the UL.
Recently, the UL administration released schedules for its First Semester of the Academic Year 2022/23, saying students’ registration will begin today, June 19 and will end on July 8, 2023.
Announcing the commencement of the Academic Year, UL President Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., said the first semester will be short as the institution is cognizant that faculty and students must have time to exercise their civic rights during the 10, October, 2023, Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia.
Accompanied by his UL Administration and other officials to the press conference, Dr. Nelson disclosed that classes will commence on Monday, June 26, 2023, and Mid-term Exams will run from August 7 to 12, 2023.
In furtherance, he disclosed that lectures will end on September 9, and Final Exams will be conducted from September 11 to 23, 2023.
“Having completed the Academic Year 2021/2022 in May 20023 and processed our wonderful graduates, through “God’s Doing,” the focus is on the formal commencement of Academic Year 2022/2023,” said Dr. Nelson.
At the press conference, the UL President did not comment on any of the issues ULFA raised in its latest communication.
However, Dr. Nelson noted that the focus is on all of the related processes that will ensure a smooth and timely conduct of the First Semester before the Presidential and Legislative Elections in October 2023.