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Liberia's Education System Faces Obstacles


One of Africa's oldest universities has been shut down for more than a month. Administrators of Liberia's Cuttington University closed the school after students held protests saying the school was taking their money, but failing to provide promised services. Naomi Schwarz has more on the story from Dakar, with additional reporting from Prince Collins in Monrovia.

Angry students from Cuttington University say they want to go back to class. They traveled from central Liberia, where Cuttington University is located, to Monrovia to bring their story to officials in the capital.

The students say that when they registered for classes, the university charged additional fees for textbooks and Internet service.

But the Internet is not available on campus, and the library does not have the textbooks they need. When the students began to protest, university administrators shut down the school.

"Four weeks into the semester we were faced with serious concerns," said Yuwah Nemah, president of the student government. "These concerns include services that were paid for and were not rendered by the administration to the students, thereby creating an unhealthy educational environment."

The university has been closed for more than a month, and some students are now worried they will not be able to graduate on time.

Nemah says the administration was wrong to close the university.

"This decision is not in the best interests of the students, because we paid the fees and we expected to be in school," he added. "We were not benefiting from certain circumstances, when we raised questions, the university took the bold step to shut down the university."

Founded by Episcopal missionaries in 1821, Cuttington University is one of Africa's oldest private schools. It is also the second biggest university in Liberia behind the University of Monrovia.

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