During a meeting with the Administration of the University of Liberia on Monday, August 27, 2013, the Visitor, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf squarely blamed the recent mass failure of candidates sitting the UL entrance and placement exams on the poor performance of Liberian high schools preparing them.
Madam President’s position was in reference to the twenty-five thousand candidates, who miserable failed the UL 2013 entrance and placement exams, resulting to a national embarrassment. She described the situation as alarming, further confirming her recent statement that the educational system in Liberia was in a mess.
“Why are the students of the system not performing to the standards expected? Why are they not comparative with those in other countries? Why are our WAEC exams not at the same level as the rest of the African countries, and we have to have a lower standard to adjust?” wondered Madam President, warning that unless everyone sees it as a national emergency, the system will continue to suffer in a disappointing manner.
According to the President, the problem was not just taking the test and failing, but the schools from which from the students came. “so, we have to go into those high schools; into those elementary schools and see what is lacking and what we can do about it,” she regrettably noted, frowning at the students themselves, saying they, too, will have to muster the courage and willingness to learn.
Considering the nature of primary and high school students nowadays, mustering courage to build academic and intellectual capacity may just be too difficult for majority of the students we have in our country. Of primary concern to many of these students are social activities, including ‘the English Premiership. Spanish La Liga as well as Italian Serie – A and African (Nigeria and Ghanaian) movies among others, which they understand and interpret very well more than their lessons.
While we concur with Madam President on this alarming and national embarrassment caused us by our so-called future leaders, the need to thoroughly review the educational system, including the Ministry of Education itself must be a very necessary condition for revival.
We strong believe that as the result of the weakness of the Education Ministry to be efficient and effective in monitoring the schools and their academic activities, probably because of certain interests, including ownership and board membership of most of the primary and high schools across the country, this national and international embarrassment has befallen our national..
As Madam President has mandated the university authorities to work with the Ministry of Education and others to arrange another Round Table Conference so that not only government, but all stakeholders will be able to explore lasting solutions to the problem, we can only hope and pray for a critical reassessment and analysis of the activities of the Education Ministry itself will also be placed at the core of such conference with the high degree of sincerely and patriotism.
Madam President must be hailed for her immediate intervention as the symbol of a nation; whose discouraging educational system as evidence by the mass failure of about twenty-five thousand candidates sitting the UL entrance and place exams is raising serious international eye-brows.