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Editorial

Devastating UL Entrance Exams

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All 25,000 candidates that wrote the recent undergraduate entrance and placement exams of the University of Liberia failed miserably; this paper has reliably learnt. Although the UL Testing and Evaluation Center is yet to officially release results of the 2013/14 entrance and placement exams, but inside sources at the university have hinted that none of the 25,000 candidates, particularly for the undergraduate program successfully passed both English and Mathematics, the two basic subjects in which candidates are usually evaluated to gain entrance to the state-owned institution of higher learning.

Reports say of the total number of candidates that wrote the exams, less than hundred passed either of the two subjects, the first ever in the history of the UL entrance exams. Something is wrong! Could the massive failure be attributed to poor preparation by the students themselves or is it that the candidates did not adequately read the instructions in the examination hall and on the test papers with comprehension?

The UL Administration had earlier cancelled the very exams at the eleventh hour in Monrovia, citing technical problems in the printing of the tests and subsequently rescheduled same for July, 2013. And now, after the ill-fated exams, we are hearing that the candidates performed poorly.  We think the UL Administration needs to investigate and establish why the candidates performed below expectation. We have observed of late, that students already enrolled at the university faced  numerous challenges every semester, including late printing of grade sheets, distorted schedules placed on the bulletin board and lack of adequate instructors, among others. These constraints seem to negatively impact the students, sometimes causing them to protest on campus in demand of improved services.

As the only state university in Monrovia, the UL Administration should be very circumspect in executing its programs to maintain public confidence. How come that not a single candidate, out of a total of 25,000, could pass both subjects to gain admission into the undergraduate program?  Another critical issue is the total number of candidates registering for the entrance and placement exams. We think registering 20,000 or more candidates each time when the university actually needs about 2,000 to 3,000 to enroll in a particular semester creates room for dishonesty in the process. This practice should be seriously revisited for the sake of credibility.

The University of Liberia had demonstrated impeccable records of excellence in the past, specifically in administering the entrance and placement exams, but we observed that what has been obtaining of late leaves much to be desired. For God sake, the candidates along should not, and cannot take all of the blames because such dismal performance is unheard of at that institution.

As head of the state highest institution of learning, we urged the Emmet Dennis Administration to stand up to the challenge of rescuing our educational system from the “Mess” that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf pointed to in one of her cabinet meetings. This requires that the right thing should be done to redeem our educational system from disrepute.

Let it not be misconstrued that we back unprepared candidates seeking to matriculate into the university as they could eventually become total embarrassment to the institution, but we believe those responsible for the administration of the entrance and placement exams should do everything humanly possible to avoid the entire exercise becoming a laughingstock as it seems to currently portray.

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