By Mohammed Salue Sy
The issue of education in post-war Liberia continues to be marred by excessive problems which have over the years not been ably addressed by national leaders .There is no doubt that the assertion by Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that the Liberian educational system is a “mess” has become a fact instead of anyone treating it as a mere personal view. For too long the system has widely been described in every nook and quarter by Liberians in many ways but with little or nothing being done to address the educational maladies.
Frankly, education remains the fundamental bedrock of any nation that wants to make a paradigm of shift from underdevelopment to development and from instability to stability, just to mention a few. This is why education should not be swept under the carpet, especially in this era of socio-economic and other challenges confronting the Liberian nation and the world at large. For the past three consecutive academic years, Liberian students are said to have performed dismally in tests administered by the sub-regional body, the West African Examinations Council as reflected in the outcomes of such tests.
Even in other public exams here, the performances of our students are always appalling nowadays. This makes me to wonder whether or not Liberian students are not focusing on their studies. I also wonder whether the much- heralded poor performances of our students are caused by the lack of competent and experienced instructors, poor learning facilities, rampant corruption including the offer of money and sex by students to teachers for grades. Obviously, these factors may have impacts on the nation’s educational system which is also wanting as a result of substantial budgetary and other essential support.
Nevertheless, we need to look beyond these factors by bringing under spotlight the role of WAEC-Liberia .Critically examining the system in most recent time, I as a student activist of the University of Liberia had penned several articles on the nation’s educational system, pointing out multiple flaws and advancing germane recommendations aimed at strengthening this outdated and rotten system. For instance, at a news conference in Monrovia following the release of the most recent WAEC results during which student Armstrong Gbessage of the J. .J. Roberts United Methodist School was named as the lone division 1 candidate thus prompting me to take serious issues with WAEC-Liberia. My argument is not as a basis to question the exceptional performance of student Armstrong but to question the sincerity of WAEC in their controversial results. WAEC as a reputable institution should not be struggling to give out proper results to the public. On the contrary, WAEC with its controversial results and its frantic style of duties has profoundly demonstrated their ineffectiveness, incompetence, slothfulness to handling the affairs of the national exams.
It so pathetic that WAEC which in yester years was considered a credible institution has sadly fallen backward in terms of its dismal handling of the exams including multiple claims of leakage and commercialization of its questionnaires in recent years. For instance, the recent exams by WAEC were previously postponed based on widespread allegations of leakage of the test at Konola Mission in Margibi. To date, it remains controversial as to how the exam house was burglarized and those perpetrators of the alleged criminal act.
It is also not known what measures have been taken by WAEC to ameliorate the situation, yet its controversial results for this year show gross mass failure of Liberian students. Indeed, such approach by WAEC raises more questions than answers with respect to its credibility and integrity in administering exams. And finally, I write.
Author's Statement: The author of this work is a 2013 graduate of the B.W. Harris Episcopal School, Division II candidate and the Young Political Leadership School of Naymote. Mr. Sy is currently a student of economics at the University of Liberia. Besides, he is a staunch member of the Indomitable Student Integration Movement (SIM). Other related works of the author include: Troubling Academic Results: A detailed Perspective of the Whole, Another Academic malpractice: WAEC Takes Spotlight