14 August 2018

Liberia: Former Immigration Boss Sees Lapses in Education Sector

A former commissioner of the Liberia Immigration Service or LIS John Smythe attributes massive failure among 12th graders in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) to serious lapses confronting the country's educational system.

Serving as keynote speaker at the graduation exercises of the Frank E. Tolbert Junior and Senior High School in Bentol, Lower Montserrado County on the Topic: "Keep focus in your educational pursuit for a higher goal", he names lapses such as maintaining some teachers on government payroll, while others are volunteers and underpaid.

Mr. Smythe notes that massive failure of students in the WASSCE exams indicates there is something either wrong with the national curriculum or the exams score.

Provisional results released in July by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Monrovia National Office on the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) maiden exams says in the senior high category, of which a total of 33,979 candidates from 600 high schools submitted entries, 21,580 candidates representing 65.15 percent of the candidates who sat the examination were unsuccessful.

WAEC authorities say 11,544 candidates representing 34.85 percent of candidates, who sat the examination made a successful pass in individual subjects. The exam was administered from April 3 to April 20, 2018.

"855 candidates' results are withheld for examination malpractice, including 60 candidates who were caught with cell phones, 40 candidates caught with foreign materials, 62 candidates caught for irregular activities, 122 candidates for insults and assaults and 571 candidates from 14 schools for collusion," WAEC note.

However, Mr. Smythe cites as an example, Ambassador Abraham Keita, a Liberian student, who failed the WASSCE exams, but passes in flying colors in both the American administered SAT and Torfu exams, leaving him to wonder if something was seriously wronged with the WASSCE exams. The West African Senior School Certificate Examination replaces the Liberia Senior High School Exam previously administered by WAEC.

He calls on the Ministry of Education to revisit the WASSCE examination so that it would not be used to deny students who are academically prepared to take any examinations.

The tough-spoken former Immigration boss also notes that it was unfortunate that some Liberian senior high school students who reportedly failed the WASSCE, performed in flying colors in both the SAT and Torfu examination administered in the United States of America.

He challenges parents to continue to seriously monitor their children's education because it is the surest way of ensuring that their children's education is assure.

Also speaking, the outgoing president of the Student Council Government of the Frank E. Tolbert Junior and Senior High School, Ms. Joletha Joe assures her colleagues that she will continue to advocate for female students whose rights are being violated and abused by their male counterparts, which deny them opportunity to complete high school education due to pregnancy.

The school's valedictorian Abraham S.D. Kollie (Dux), appeals to well meaning Liberians to assist some of the graduates enroll in colleges and universities across the country in pursuit of higher education.

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