SMART Liberians Seek a More Open University of Liberia
By: Brooks Marmon, Accountability Architect. Accountability Lab supported SMART Liberia’s Update 8 campaign through the Accountability Incubator.
On December 4, several hundred students of the University of Liberia gathered at the institution’s Fendell Campus for a convocation hosted by the student advocacy and training group, SMART Liberia. The assembly sought to sensitize students on Liberia’s Open Government Partnership commitments, of which one component commits the government, with support of civil society, to regularly update and standardize government websites.
SMART Liberia has launched a campaign, Update 8, supported by OSIWA and the Accountability Lab to help advance this goal. To this end it has composed a video (which has been viewed nearly 20,000 times on Facebook) to dramatize the benefits that would accrue to students if they were able to register for classes online and composed a petition to emphasize the united voice of students on this issue. Over 2,000 students have signed the petition, which seeks to align the University of Liberia website with the standards of those of neighboring countries, such as that of the University of Ghana, which maintains a regularly updated website.
The event on the fourth featured a range of musical and dance performances, including an unannounced rendition of ‘Corruption, Corruption’ by Amaze. The event was not all fun and games however, with students discussing the dire need for an updated website. Ahmed Konneh, SMART Liberia co-founder, expressed disappointment with the absence of University of Liberia leadership to receive the petition, noting that “it takes young people to drag the feet of those who govern us to be accountable to us.”
Readers may recall that a Bush Chicken analysis ranked the University of Liberia’s website as the lowest performing of eight tertiary education institutions in Liberia.
Watch the video below to hear remarks from Kloh Hinneh and Ahmed Konneh of SMART Liberia and Blair Glencorse of Accountability Lab during the event.