New Democrat (Monrovia)

28 August 2013

Liberia: Education Minister Repeats Biblical Thomas's 'Seeing Is Believing'

Despite affirmation and insistence by authorities at the state-run University of Liberia that all 25,000 secondary school leavers who wrote entrance examinations involving mathematics and English last June in a bid to enter the institution failed miserably, Education Minister Etmonia David-Tarpeh doubts the possibility, and has decided to seek evidence.

Therefore, she has plans to meet UL officials to discuss the failure rate and employ the maxim, 'seeing is believing'."I know there are a lot of weaknesses in the schools but for a whole group of people to take exams and every single one of them to fail, I have my doubts about that," Minister David-Tarpeh expressed her disbelief, adding: "It's like mass murder."In spite of our earlier description of the mass failure in the current UL admission exams as unprecedented in the academic history of Lux in Tenebris, the education minister said she knew some of the examination candidates and schools from which they graduated."These are not just schools that will give people grades. I'd really like to see the results of the students," she said in search of convincing evidence to prove the mass failure.As the minister has expressed intentions to meeting with authorities at the University of Liberia, we urge the government-run institution of highest learning not to hesitate in providing her cooperation to clear not only her doubts but also those of thousands of parents and students, now expressing disappointment that their dreams have been shattered.

But vice president for University relations, Dr. S. Momolu Getaweh's assessment that most students lacked enthusiasm and did not have a basic grasp of English should seriously concern the government and all stakeholders in the education sector, greatly affected by a protracted devastating civil war."In English, the mechanics of the language, they didn't know anything about it. So the government has to do something," the UL spokesperson lamented, adding: "The war has ended 10 years ago now. We have to put that behind us and become realistic." Meanwhile, strictly following the exams results would allow no new credit hour freshman admissions when the University of Liberia reopens next month for the academic year. Although public opinion blamed authorities at the Ministry of Education and school administrators for the mass failure, we call for national retrospection on this vexing problem, which demands prompt and adequate correction in order to save this generation. We all know the problems and must stop crying over spilled milk, but go back to the drawing board to fix our educational mess.

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