Liberia’s Education Minister George Werner engulfed by series of challenges ranging from his public-private program to privatize primary education to exams leakage, has been summoned by the Senate’s Committee on Education.
The Liberian Senate took the decision following the recent leakage of the West African Examination Council or WAEC exams for 12th graders that should been administered last week, but was cancelled. The Senate says Minister Werner should appear to give reasons behind the continuous exam leakage in the country.
The Ministry of Education in collaboration with WAEC has set June 27 to July 1, 2016 as new date for the exams. The hearing is also intended for the ministry and the committee to find a way in addressing the repeated leakage. The Senate expressed worried about fate of students in rural areas whether they will write the exams on the new date or period set by the Education Ministry, taking into account bad roads across the country.
The upper House reached the decision on Tuesday, 31 May during its regular sitting at the Capitol Building. Speaking on the leakage, Grand Cape County Senator Varney Sherman, who faces bribery and criminal charges at the Criminal Court “A”, said it has some level of corruption and some higher-ups may be behind the scandal.
The government is expected to spend about US$300,000 for the printing of new exam papers, and Senator Sherman wonders where the money would come from. He says the problem of exams leakage has become rampant or a regular practice, stressing the need to put measures in place to avoid future occurrence.
Minster Werner is expected to appear before the committee in two weeks, and failure to respond accordingly, the Senate plenary – the highest decision making body, will take charge of the matter. Speaking Monday on a local radio in Monrovia, Minister Warner said “investigation is very expensive in the area of budget cost. We want to avoid that.” He further maintained that undertaking such an investigation means there should be a clear cut evidence to support claim to the fullest.
Over 40, 000 12th graders across the country are expected to write the exams, beginning June 27, 2016 after all measures are taken to avoid reoccurrence. J. Maxime Bleetahn, Director of Communications at the Ministry of Education, confirming the leakage recently, revealed that the alleged fraud took place at Konola SDA Mission in Margibi County following a burglary at the campus where the exam questions were stored.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne