From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Peace Returns to Njala University
By Augustine Samba
Nov 18, 2010, 17:20

Njala University Students Union President, Samson Mustapha has succeeded in restoring peace on campus, following a protracted disagreement between the University’s administration and students.

The disagreement was over fee increment and other related issues, and it continued until after the SU President and his team were able to get the administration to understand the students’ plights and revert to the old fees arrangement.

Earlier, the administration asked the student to pay for other charges that the Sierra Leone Government grant-in-aid has removed from the list.

Beneficiary students were compelled to pay two hundred and twenty thousand leones (Le.220, 000) instead of the one hundred and fifty thousand leones (Le150, 000) they paid last year.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Njala University, Professor Andrew Baimba, told this reporter that the increment was not done by the university as perceived by the students. He cited as an example the ‘socket works fee,’ which he said was an initiative by the Tertiary Education Commission. “It is aimed at bringing advanced technology to all colleges in the country,” he clarified.

According to him, the socket work programme is an innovation intended to install computers with internet facilities that will enable students to register, research, interact, learn and take lectures online.

Professor Baimba said the students have not been able to understand this irrespective of the fact that it was made clear to them.

“Since the students are now claiming that they were never sensitized on the issue, and since we want to remedy the situation, the university has decided to pay for the socket works this semester to be refunded by students during the second semester,” he disclosed.

Students Union President, Samson Mustapha informed the Awareness Times reporter that he held over twenty meetings with the administration before the protest which was caused by the fact that most of them were only having in their possession the old fees. “The students regarded the increase as spontaneous and unacceptable new arrangement,” he informed, adding, “I did not only engage the administration to understand the students’ plight, but I likewise engaged the students on the importance to pay for the socket works programme.”

While negotiations continue, the University has reverted to the old arrangement for the SLG students.

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