It is becoming clearer that the mass failure of Liberian students in public exams, including university entrances and WAEC, may be the result of the opoor and unfavourable learning conditions.
While there may be other social/behavioural factors, on the part of the students, responsible for their dismal performance- written public exams or speech, the inability of the Government of Liberia to ensure the enabling environment for sound and quality education, especially in public schools is a major attributing factor.
In most public schools across the country, there are no arm chairs, desks, libraries, laboratories and other basic necessities to back up the process of learning; instead, students are compelled to use bricks, banboons and planks as chairs/benches and desks, while they only rely on just what teachers deliver to them. The teachers themselves find it difficult to research lessons/topics enshrined in the curriculum prescribed by the Ministry of Education.
The issue of better and attractive incentives/benefits for teachers to discourage all forms of corruption and other unprofessional conducts is yet to be over-come.
Except for the new and rehabilitated school building the Government of Liberia and partners have and continue to make available in some parts of the country, the issue of capacitating the schools remain unresolved. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, the continuous poor state of Liberian public schools may speak to the fact.
Apparently angered by the decline in the ability of students to perform in public exams, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-in one of her public addresses to the nation, described the entire Liberian educational sector as a MESS.
As a sign of relief, the President promised to support the sector.
Understandably, many had thought President Sirleaf’s emphatic position meant the government’s preparedness to change things, but unfortunately, that was not actually the case.
Even though it may unfair to pass a judgement on the promise, the duration of such promise may now be raising more eyebrows, especially when things continue to go from bad to worse in the Liberian educational system.
It is no secret that the standards upheld in public schools, including the William V.S. Tubman High School, between the 1960s and 1980s motivated serious competitions between public and private schools in Liberia.
The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Education, must revisit factors that led to such standards and competitions for remodelling in order to revive the educational sector. Additionally, the issue of teachers’ welfare and conditions under which they teach must be made practical and not mere pronouncements.
Tackling these issues would, no doubt, begin to lead the Liberian educational system somewhere- that our students can have a solid foundation and truly address themselves as high school students/graduates.