he Liberia National Police or LNP in Margibi County has arrested and detained three suspects in the ongoing investigation of examination theft at the Konola Academy, a secondary mission school in Cinta Township, District#5, Margibi.
According to state radio ELBC, the suspects arrested include the Principal of the Konola Academy, Madam Rebecca G. Yealue, an alumnus of the academy, and the president of the student council government of the school. They are said to be among other suspects yet to be identified, who are responsible for putting situations under control on campus.
The Director of Communication at the Ministry of Education Maxime Bleetahn says suspects behind bars will face prosecution and if found guilty, they will face the full weight of the law. Mr. Bleetahn described the alleged perpetrators, as people who lack integrity in the society, saying “The primary focus of this government now is to revamp our spoiled educational system, and transform it to a better one for the future generation”.
He continued: “I think the problem in this country is integrity; certain people in this country lack integrity, and commitment. Our decision as a ministry that is responsible for education to postpone the WEAC exams is from the background that the test was stolen, and tempered with. We can’t not give such test to our students, whom we rely on to become the future leaders of this country; if we do that then we don’t seek to find the kind of quality education that we want.”
The MOE communication boss also emphasized that it is not credible to administer examinations that have been tempered with to students, adding this would be a disservice to our country, and the students, who are the future leaders of this country.
He those involved will be named and shamed before prosecution takes place to discourage academic dishonesty in the education system.
But Abraham Kieta, a Liberian student, who won the Children International Peace Prize Award, has objected to the cancellation of the entire exams by the ministry, arguing “I think the Ministry of Education is in rror, because the wiser decision they were to make is to exclude the Konola Mission Academy from the examination instead of rescheduling it.”
He said the exams should have been administered across the country as previously scheduled, because according to him, it is not possible for students to solve all of the questions before the test, which was to be administered the following day.
Kieta noted this is not the first time for such an incident to occur in this country, while accusing the Ministry of Education of doing nothing to improve the spoiled education system. “In others African countries like Ghana, school authorities don’t take money from students to offer them tutorial during WEAC period, but here in Liberia, you can find students paying money just for tutorial classes; this is not right”, he said.
News of the cancellation broke out in Monrovia on Sunday, 22 May just after 9th graders wrote theirs during the weekend without any major report of cheating.
However, the WAEC is said to be investigating claims of school officials collecting money from candidates ahead of the test.
By Lewis S. Teh -Editing by Jonathan Browne