Press Statement for Immediate Release
Comrades and friends, enlightened youth and student activists, pundits and petty traders, ICT students, educators and professionals, International community, fellow Liberians, members of the press:
We bring you heartfelt digital revolutionary greetings with high esteem from the most conscious and prolific mother organization for all Information and Technology students in the Republic, the Liberia Information Technology Student Union (LITSU).
The Liberia Information Technology Student Union is a certified ICT student-based digital advocacy movement with the obligation to steer affairs and activities for all ICT students in Liberia, advocate for the rights of all ICT students and seek legal redress when their rights are taken for granted.
On this note, we call on the cabinet to adopt the National ICT Policy 2019-2024. The ICT policy 2019-2024 serves as the vision for Liberia to get transform through technology. The ICT policy 2019-2024 is critical to the sustainable development of Liberia’s ICT sector and it aims to address development and support the socio-economic development of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
To be clear, as a conscious ICT student movement, we are aware, we attended and proffered positive recommendations on series of the ICT Policy 2019-2024 validation programs which were conducted by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in collaboration with USAID and we also attended the last ICT policy validation Program which was held at the main campus of the University of Liberia auditorium August 2018.
After the completion of all the ICT policy 2019-2024 validation programs, the ICT policy was presented to the Ministry of state and portfolio for adoption in October 2018 by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications. Since October 2018 to present the ICT policy 2019-2024 is yet to be adopted which is very dangerous for the development and struggling economy of Liberia because No country can get develop without Technology and Liberia is no exception.
The ICT policy 2019-2024 policy needs to be adopted for Implementation with immediate effect instead of it being as decoration on the office desks of Ministry of State and portfolio because the ICT policy has the propensity to anchored on building a resilient infrastructure that supports expanded connectivity, attracts investment, and promotes employment opportunities in Liberia. It will also promote human capital development, with a specific focus on providing specialization in ICT programs.
These kinds of interventions will facilitate sustainable development in the sector and will also provide Liberia a comparative advantage in its development endeavors.
Adopting the ICT policy 2019-2024 will Promote innovation in ICT services, Implement e-services, it will promote the adoption of Liberia’s country code top-level domain, It will ensure the safe disposal of IT equipment, it will encourage ICT literacy nationwide, it will adopt ICT as a platform for improving education quality, it will Drive improvement in health programs using ICT platforms, it will adopt a strategy to use ICT as an emergency response requirement, it will also adopt a robust national cybersecurity strategy, and Collaborate with all stakeholders in building a viable ICT sector in Liberia.
It very saddens USAID has halt undertaking ICT projects and programs in Liberia because the ICT policy 2019-2024 is not adopted. We are in the 21st century and the 21st century is the century of science and technology and Liberia needs to be in alignment with this century. Kenya which is called the silicon savannah of Africa and Rwanda have adopted their ICT policy and they are using the ICT policy to develop their nation through Technology but the issue of Technology is not taking seriously in Liberia which is very precarious in this digital revolution.
The ICT policy 2019-2024 must be adopted for rapid economic growth and social development in Liberia.
LITSU also want to use this medium to call on the Government of Liberia to create a standalone BSC ICT Division in the University of Liberia. It is very clear that the university of Liberia had the T.J.R Faulkner College of Science and Technology since June 1st, 1997 and since the establishment of this college, it has consisted of two divisions: A natural Science Division encompassing of Biological science, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics Department; on the other hand, is the Engineering Division encompassing of Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Geology, and Mining Engineering which is very vital. Unfortunately, it is a contradiction the Division of Information and Technology has been left out and this failure is very dangerous toward the development of Liberia in this Information and Technology age.
The division of Information and Technology need to be integrated into the state-run university to create more problem solvers instead of problem seekers for rapid economic growth and social development in Liberia.
One of the main problems of ICT adoption in society and corporations is caused by lack of ICT professionals likewise Liberia that’s lacking technological manpower power base, we must admit. A low number of ICT experts in economies of any countries cause lower innovation activities likewise Liberia, that’s the reason, many of the technological systems and contracts of our nation are done by foreigners, such as follow, IFMIS, Asecuda, the National Biometric ID card and many more.
Setting up the division of Information and Technology in the state-run university with free education will disrupt this status quo by training more technologists that will make Liberia to not only be a consumer of technology but the producer of technology.
Setting up the Information and Technology division will promote excellence in our ICT sector and reduce government expenditure on the reliance of foreign companies to provide our noble nation with many tech solutions.
There are many private institutions that are offering BSc IT in Liberia but it is very expansive. Majority of the students doing ICT are children from wealthy backgrounds. What about the less fortunate children with the right and passion to become ICT experts to develop Liberia?
What about the market women and carpenter children with the dream to become a software developer and network engineer? Are they not entitled to obtain technological Bachelor of Science degree through Technology? We say No!
On Wednesday, October 24, President George M. Weah abolished tuition fees for every undergraduate student at the University of Liberia which is very fantastic for the transformation of Liberia. Our prolific President has already created the platform for every undergraduate student in Liberia to obtain an education in the state-run university and it is time for the Division of Information and Technology to be set up for both the less fortunate and fortunate students to obtain BSc in Information and Technology.
The President of the University of Liberia said that the reason they are delaying the process of setting up the Information Communication and Technology Division in the state-run university is that there are many unqualified teachers to teach information and Technology in Liberia.
Are you telling us that we should wait for quality teachers in the field of Technology before the Information and Technology Division will be created in the T.J.R Faulkner College of Science and Technology? We are tired of waiting from 1997 to the present. It will be prudent that you start with a public-private partnership with some of the Tech develop countries to start the process because it was the same PPP method that Ghana, Tanzania, and Mauritius used to set up a vibrant ICT division in their state-run universities.
Investing in Information Communication and Technology is essential in taking any country to the next level and Liberia is no exception.
The economy of Liberia is becoming to be dependent on Information Communication and Technology, it is very critical that the University of Liberia work more closely with time to integrate ICT Division in the T.J.R Faulkner College of Science and Technology in the University of Liberia to mold the minds of many students with the passion of making Information and Technology their career to maximize the value of digital innovation in Liberia.
The ICT division must be created in the University of Liberia.
We have received many complaints from the scholars of BlueCrest University concerning the Ministry of Education Scholarship and we have observed that they have been denied of benefiting from the MOE scholarship.
We also have with us some documents from BlueCrest university scholars that have sent their applications letter for the scholarship many times but they have been rejected of benefiting from the MOE scholarship with a qualify GPA that can enable Liberian Students to obtain the MOE scholarship.
We are also aware that before any student receives the MOE scholarship in Liberia, they should be a Liberian that obtained 3.00 GPA and 4.00 GPA. The students of BlueCrest University that meet up with this prerequisite need to benefit from the MOE scholarship instead of being denied because they are student and citizen of Liberia.
Many expensive private ICT institutions in Liberia are benefitting from the MOE Scholarship such as follow; STARZs University, United Methodist University ICT division, and Barsheell University.
Why BlueCrest University scholars are not benefitting? It is because they are attending an institution from India? They are not students of India but rather they are a student of Liberia and they need to benefit every opportunity from the Pro-Poor Government or any Government of Liberia, through its scholarship because they are Liberian not India’s.
The scholarship is for scholars. We will not allow the rights of the students of BlueCrest University and others to be trampled on. MOE scholarship registration is on and we are calling all the scholars of BlueCrest University and other ICT universities to register without any fear and they will not be denied this time around.
After flagging all these prolific issues, we give the government one month to implement it with immediate effect. Any attempt, Peaceful action will be taken.
LITSU remain committed to their statutory mandate and we will not rest until Liberia get transform through technology.
Long Live the Liberia Information Technology Student Union!
The Digital Struggle continue!
Done and issued on this 7 day of July AD 2019.